Thursday, December 31, 2015

Week of December 27 2015: He's a gem!

Happy almost 2016! I hope everyone passed a delightful Christmas. It was 85 degrees here on Christmas day, so it didn't really feel right to be singing Christmas carols, but such is life here in Guate. 

The power AND the water were out for the majority of last week, which was a delightful reminder of the luck we have to live in modern times. We also ate many tamales and drank ponche (I think I described it last's a bunch of fruit cooked in water with cinnamon and sugar, and people here are obsessed with it), and a lady gave us a HUGE chocobanano for FREE! It was the best present a girl could ask for. 

We have been working hard on finding and teaching, and sometimes it's discouraging to see people who were progressing fall. I've been meditating on this scripture in John:
'Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.  If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.' (John 13:16-17).

Heavenly Father created us so that we would have JOY! So we should find happiness in the little things we do that makes us feel His love--helping an old lady cross the street, comforting a crying baby, eating a chocobanano--and let the rest roll off our backs. 

I love you all lots, and I hope you start 2016 making resolutions that you can truly keep. 
Sister Hamil

ps. here is a picture of us from the Christmas zone conference, with President Caffaro, who, during his talk to us, said 'sometimes I just make up words in Spanish.' He's a gem.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Week of December 6 2015: Happy December!

Happy December! Right now it's about 75 degrees and sunny, so it feels like I'm in the middle of summer, but we sing Christmas carols in every lesson, and the mayor put up a Christmas tree in front of the municipal building, so there's at least a little bit of holiday cheer. 

The family I wrote about last week are just a miracle. We went to visit them and they told us they had actually read the pamphlet (rare), and prayed to know if it was true (super rare!!), and that they were committed to go to church on Sunday(ALMOST UNHEARD OF!!!). We were really happy to know that Heavenly Father truly prepares His children to receive the gospel and investigate it. They're such a cute family, and the mom is always telling the kids to be reverent and listen, and at the end of the lesson, we gave them all lollipops. We love them a lot. 

Yesterday we had another miracle, Romelia, who lives in one of the aldeas that's about twenty minutes in bus. She had told us that if she was going to come to church, that she would come on her own, and we were shocked when she showed up the the middle of testimony meeting! We had called her all morning without getting an answer, and it was astounding to see her in church. She said she loved it and that she wants to bring her kids next week. 
This is my new favorite scripture from this week's study. We've seen a lot of miracles, but we've had a lot of hardships in this change as well. This is what gets me through:

'O then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need. Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him.' (Mormon 8:27)

Many of the hardest times of my mission have come as a result of doubt. In these last four weeks, I have gained a testimony that doubt and faith cannot coexist. Heavenly Father has a plan for everyone, and we can't try to make our plans His plans! Doubt not, but be believing, and know that miracles are possible. I've seen them, and I know in the Christmas season, we will see even more. 

Un abrazo de oso, 

Hermana Campbell

ps. the photo is from the outside of our apartment, which our landlord decorated. Cute!
pps. quote of the week 'you're so cute with your Canadian accent!' -hna campbell 'it's fine, i'm just gonna go cry in the washroom' -hna juarez

Monday, October 26, 2015

We visited a family we had taught a few times before Monday, and in the lesson, I found a few scriptures that I wanted them to read. The two youngest kids rushed to my side, eager to carry my scriptures to their mom, and continued to compete over the privilege of passing the scriptures back and forth for the rest of the lesson. Getting to be around kids is one of the many, many perks of being a missionary (although the setback is not being able to hold them. Boo.).

This week ended in miracles and exhaustion, as has almost every week since I came to El Progreso. On Thursday I had the privilege of getting to know a place called Sanarate, which is a three hour bus ride from my area. There are so many people in the world! That sounds really obvious, but it's really incredible that, despite the huge missionary force working in the world, there are so many people who have yet to get to know the gospel. 
On Saturday, we had the baptism of Fransisca! Here are all the miracles that contributed:

1) We had told her that we were going to go by her house at 12, because in the church in Progreso, there's no font, so we have to go to Jutiapa (which is about 25 minutes in bus). We went by, and she wasn't there! The door was locked and the neighbors told us that they heard they had left for Guate early in the morning, We rushed around, trying to think where she could be, and went all around the town trying to find her. After about half an hour, we felt an impression to go to her house again, and when we did, there she was! She had shut her door because she was showering and getting ready to go. 

2) She brought her granddaughters, one of which told us she wants to get baptized too!

3) One of our investigators showed up to the baptism, even though it was far away!

4) We had started planning the baptism late and hadn't announced it, so we were trying to find members to come, and everyone told us no. The relief society president, who's about 8 months pregnant, showed up by surprise--she's awesome. The branch president came as well, and brought his wife and his mom, along with three little kids. At the end of things, about 10 people were in attendance, which is much more than we had expected.

5) The water in the font came out relatively clear, because outside the cap, the water is usually pretty grey and cloudy and dirty. But by some miracle, it was almost dirt-free! (Fransisca told us it was still really cold though.)

6) We bought pizza for everyone who came, and there was just enough for everyone to have two slices.
It was a great day, and it reminded me how much Heavenly Father wants to bless us. My scripture for last week that I decided to ponderize was Mosiah 2:41, which says: 

And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness.

He wants to bless us, if only we can keep the commandments! Don't doubt His desire to help and bless you. He loves all His children so much, and it's a privilege to be able to communicate that love to others. 

Happy Halloween, and Feliz Dia de los Muertos!

Hermana Vela (look it up on Google Translate. I'm very clever.)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Week of 9.21.15: Disanimated

Hey everyone, 

Happy day of independence to Guatemala! Here they celebrate independence on the 15th, so on Tuesday, everyone was decked out in blue and white and burning fireworks. Mama Elida, who's the member that feeds us every day, made my favorite Guatemalan dessert, which are called molletes. Normally they only make them for Semana Santa, but she made an exception for me. 

We also had a lot of opportunities to do service this week. I realized that I really love cleaning other peoples' houses, especially washing their dishes. I can only think of a few times on my mission where I've felt more joyful than I do while washing dishes. I'm not sure why, but I think it has to do with what King Benjamin teaches: when we're in the service of our fellow beings, we're only in the service of our God. 

Yesterday our investigator, David, who got baptized about two weeks ago, got confirmed! I asked him how he felt afterward, and he told me that he had felt a force move through him. He literally received the gift of the Holy Ghost, and could feel the difference. The H.G. is something interesting that I've come to understand much better on my mission. It's not just a guide for us, but it's a constant friend, a comforter, and can also reprimand us (gently) when we need it. It's a presence that makes all the difference in missionary work, and oddly enough, I've never been able to feel the spirit so much as I have in this area. Our lessons are few, but they are so spiritual. They are also exhausting--following the promptings of the spirit, and feeling it strongly, can really take a lot out of you. 

I read King Benjamin's address this week, and I was reminded of the need we have to do things according to the strengths and abilities that God has given us. Sometimes I want to do more than is possible for me to do, and it's frustrating that I don't have the capability. But God has given us the gifts and powers that we need to have, and we cannot desire more or less than what he has given us:

And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order. (Mosiah 4:27).

Trust in the talents and abilities you have, and don't get disanimated when things don't go the way you think! Heavenly Father knows exactly what we need, and in his own time and his own way, he will give it to us. 

Sister Campbell

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Week of August 3 2015: Lamina

Hi all, 

Right now, even though we're in the 'rainy season,' it's been WAY. TOO. HOT. It feels like actual summer, even though right now is technically winter. But we love it! The other thing about lamina, if you remember my last email (or the one before?), is that it traps in heat like a sauna, so when it's hot, you go into a house of lamina and come out three pounds lighter from sweating so much. But it's a beautiful part of Guatemalan life. 

On Tuesday I was in divisions with one of the sister training leaders, and we were able to teach a part-member family, Nefi and Mary (guess which one is the member). Nefi has been inactive for about seven years, but we recently started visiting him and his wife, who is VERY receptive. We have about three weeks with them, but we had never challenged her to be baptized, because we never felt it was the right moment. But on Tuesday, we were teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I invited her to pray about baptism, and the room went silent for a minute and she said 'Ever since you started visiting me, I've been praying about it to know if it's something that I should do.' My heart kind of jumped out of my chest. It was one of those moments where time and space ceased to exist and I could see the change this decision would make in the whole life of their family and the generations to come. It was trippy but beautiful (kind of like all of missionary life). 

Yesterday we had a kind of disheartening experience, and I was feeling a little down, when I remembered my scripture study from the morning. I finished the Book of Mormon, and the last verses of Moroni 10  really hit me: 

 32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
 33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.

We are in no way perfect, and sometimes the mission feels like a pressure cooker of guilt and shame and inadequacy. I'm painfully aware of all the ways I fail every day, and I know there are many more faults I have that I don't even recognize. But God loves us, and if we have faith in Him, He will help us become the people He wants us to be! We shouldn't lose hope. All things are possible, but first we need to believe. 
Well, my cheesy ramblings have come to the end for the week--until next time. 
p.s. here I am on my new mission transport. I expect great results in proselyting. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Week of May 25 2015: Faith

Hey friends and love ones, 

Well, my beautiful trio has come to an end. Hermana Recinos has officially reached 18 months, and is going home on Tuesday. We've been really anxious to know if we have changes, but they called us last night and said that Hermana Kimball and I are staying in Santa Caty!!!! But then I checked my email today and I had a letter from our mission president titled 'A Sacred Calling..' which means I will be TRAINING a new missionary. I'm going to be a mom! Everyone in the room with me when I read my email cheered for me. We'll see how it goes. 

Last week, I wrote about Qaini, and his miraculous baptism we were going to have. He was doing really well until Thursday, when he was supposed to have his baptismal interview, and he didn't come, and he didn't come, and he didn't come. We waited at the church and called him until 9, when we had to go home. We were'nt really sure what happened, but we talked to him later that night and he said he was 'confused.' We were all pretty discouraged, but we were trying to keep the faith. He surprised us by coming to church on Sunday, and when we talked to him after that, he told us he was ready to be baptized this coming Saturday. We'll see what happens, but we have faith in him. 

On Friday, we had the opportunity to take our recent converts to the temple. We've been working with them all month to help them prepare their family history so they could take their own names to the temple, and it was a very, very special experience. Astrid, my favorite convert ever, was feeling the Spirit SO strongly that she was sobbing the entire time. We're very lucky that we have the temple so close to us, and that it's in our mission. There are a lot of statistics that show that converts fall away from the church between baptism and going to the temple, and that if they get to go to the temple soon after being baptized, they are more likely to stay firm in the church. We are lucky to have converts in this area who are truly converted, and I think generally that's why this ward is so great. The members truly are converted and have the desire to help others. 

I was reading Alma 32 this week, and found a scripture I like that describes the conversion process as I've seen it in the mission: 

38 But if ye neglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out.
So if we only begin to build a testimony but stop nourishing it, we won't be able to hold on when the times become difficult. BUT in Alma 33, it says, 
 23 And now, my brethren, I desire that ye shall plant this word in your hearts, and as it beginneth to swell even so nourish it by your faith. And behold, it will become a tree,springing up in you unto everlasting life. And then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light,through the joy of his Son. And even all this can ye do if ye will. Amen.

So keep that in mind this week. Never cease to nourish your faith. 

Hermana Campbell

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Week of May 11 2015: Guatemalan Rain

As the days and weeks go by, and I realize that my mission is going faster than I thought it would, the things that stick out in my mind vary from events of huge spiritual significance to moments of pure, childish happiness. Such as:
1) We got caught in the Guatemalan rain, which eventually came up to our ankles and left us soaking wet, and completely alone in the street. 
2) We found three investigators who accepted a baptismal date in the same day. 
3) Our comedor gave us burritos for lunch! (well, 'burritos.' they tried.)
4) Carolina got baptized, and after coming out of the water, proceeded to weep, while the bishop held her and told her she was okay. 
5) My companion found 50 quetzales on the ground, and bought us all the Guatemalan snacks we desired (Mamuts, Pinguinos, Tortrix, Taqueritos, etc.).
6) I got to skype with my family (despite the unnecessary amount of background noise). 
7) A family in my first area sent me a jar of peanut butter, because they know how much I love it.
8) In a lesson I was testifying of the Book of Mormon, and the Spirit testified to me very strongly that it's true. 

It's hard not to think about time, especially because one of my companions, Hermana Recinos, finishes her mission in two weeks. She keeps telling us how fast time goes, and that we have to take advantage of every moment. I definitely feel the time moving, and we run out of hours every day and we run out of days every week. I feel as if I just entered the field, and I'm coming up on the 8th month mark of my mission. All I can say is that there's nothing in the world like being a missionary--it's completely insane, and awkward, and weird (street contacting, bugging members to come out with you, calling people on Sunday morning to wake them up to come to church), but at the same time, it's the happiest I've ever been. 

Life isn't easy, and more than any other time in my life, I've been exposed to people's problems and hardships and things I never even imagined anyone would have to deal with. At the same time, I know that if we keep our vision placed singly on the glory of God, all the rest doesn't matter. Nothing can take away from the divine truths taught to us by the Spirit, and I hope every one of you can remember that and act accordingly. 

I read all of King Benjamin's address this week, and I want to leave you with this (kind of overused, but a goody all the same):

Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works, that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his, that you maybe brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal life, through the wisdom, and power,and justice, and mercy of him who created all things, in heaven and in earth, who is God above all. Amen. (Mosiah 5:15)
Sister Campbell

Monday, March 16, 2015

Week of 3.16.15: Sant Cat Pin

Everybody, everybody!

Remember Homestar Runner? I just remembered him, right now in this moment. But that's irrelevant (irrelephant).
Last week I didn't have time to write my weekly email, but for those of you who I didn't write, I got transferred from my first area, San Cristobal, to an area called Kaminal Juyu in a part of the capital called Utatlan. I was in a TRIO, with Hermana Pantoja, who's from Bolivia and will be going home in this next transfer, and Hermana Mansell, who is in her second transfer of training. They're both amazing, and I really admire them a lot--Hna Mansell got baptized only about a year and a half ago, and even though she's still learning about everything in the church, she teaches with a lot of love and power. Hna Pantoja just knows everything and is an incredible teacher. I learned a lot from both of them, but sadly, I am no longer with them! Because I got transferred to ANOTHER area! What!
On Thursday morning, the assistants called while I was getting out of the shower and said 'Hermana Campbell, you need to pack your stuff because you're leaving your area!' Apparently, two companionships that were in training had to get split up, because both of the trainees wanted to go home. So they sent the other trainer to my area, Kaminal Juyu, and sent me to my new area, Santa Catarina Pinula (on the sidewalks in front of the municiple building, it says 'Sant Cat Pin,' hence the title of the email). It's still inside the capital, but it's at the bottom of a huge, windy hill called El Barranco and it's basically like a little pueblo, but it's really close to the temple and the heart of Guatemala City. At first I was really grumpy, and confused about why they wanted to change me, but the last few days have been incredible. This area is really blessed--the ward is so loving, like SO LOVING (I've never felt so much love), and the people are bizarrely open and receptive. There are a lot of drunk guys who like to yell 'I go to the Mormon church!!! Canchita!!!' but I even love them too. 

My companion has also been another blessing--her name is Hermana Recinos, and she was one of the sister training leaders at the very beginning of my mission. She's incredible, and I've already learned a lot from her. Right now we're working with a family, Alejandra and Duglas, and their three kids. They were taught by the missionaries about two years ago, but they closed the area, and they never got baptized. So we're working with her to get her ready for baptism, and she already passed her interview, but she didn't come to church yesterday and we aren't sure what happened, because she's not in her house and she won't answer her phone. We're pretty worried, so if you would maybe keep them in your prayers, that would be great. We also had an insane lesson with Melissa, who's new, and she was so receptive and open, it was incredible. She's coming to church next week, and we feel that she's ready to be baptized. 

One of the converts here, Astrid, is my new best friend. She got baptized in October or something and now she brings breakfast to the missionaries every morning, and she LOVES going to teach with us. She came over this morning and helped us clean our house, and she's just the best. Something I've learned is that a BIG part of missionary work is taking care of converts. It's good to have baptisms and stuff, but it's also important to make sure that the people who have already made those covenants can continue being faithful to them. SO! If there are converts in your wards, be their friends. I'm sure they're great people! You'll love it!

My motivation this week is in 2 Nephi 2:6-8. I've been thinking and studying a lot about the Atonement, which is really the center of everything we do and believe and teach, and I like the way Lehi explains its importance here. 
I'm sorry this email was a million years long, and I hope you didn't get bored of reading it. Until next week, keep on keepin' on, and always ANIMO! (There's not really a word for that in English, sorry.)


Hermana C

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Week of February 16 2015: Five Months!

Hey everyone, 

It's Wednesday! And P-Day! Whaaaat! 

First of all, as the subject line states, yesterday I completed FIVE months of being on my mission! I'll probably say this every months, but it's weird how fast and also slow time has gone. But such is the nature of a mission, I'm told.
This week, we worked like normal on Monday, and today is our P-day, because we got to go to the TEMPLE! In our mission, we can only go once every six months, so it's a very big deal. We got up this morning at 4:30 so we could get here on time, because even though we aren't technically that far away, the traffic in Guatemala City is HORRIBLE. But luckily we arrived with enough time to go to the distribution center and eat some breakfast, and then we went to do the session in SPANISH, which was bizarre but cool. After we write (we're in the family history center of the temple right now), we're going to go eat lunch, and then we're going to the zoo. Such fun! Many missionary! Wow. 

One of the best things that happened in the past week is that 8 of our 11 converts came to church! Our retention is usually something like 3/11, but this week, almost EVERYONE came. We were so happy and it was so great to see them taking the sacrament and interacting with the other members of the ward. Converts really need a lot of love and support, which seems obvious, but if there are recent converts in your ward, BE THEIR FRIEND! (That's my first petition for this week.)

This last week, there was almost no change in our conditions--we're still looking for new investigators, knocking doors, and doing what we can to find people to teach. Only towards the end of this week did we start to see some of the fruits of our labors--we found a few investigators who (shockingly) don't attend any church, which is INCREDIBLY rare here. Almost everyone is either Evangelical or Catholic (and the Evangelicals are a lot meaner than Catholics). But we contacted one family who we're going to teach later this week, and we had a lesson with a woman named Melissa who told us she's waiting for God to guide her to the church where she feels happy and where her kids will grow up with a knowledge of the gospel. We were kind of like " we are....." and it was just a testimony to me that God really does prepare people. 

Some people are not yet ready to listen to the gospel, but others are. It's hard to find them, but they are there. My invitation to you all (which we've also extended to the members of our ward here many times) is that you can make a list of all your neighbors, friends, and family members who aren't members of the church, and pray to know who among them is ready to listen to the gospel. Then talk to the missionaries in your ward or area and help them talk to the people that God indicates to you are ready! Seriously, the missionaries need your help. It doesn't matter where you are in the world--the support of the members of the ward or branch is invaluable, and the investigators who are the most willing to listen are almost always references from members. So that's my second petition for you all this week. I'm sorry to be such an annoying missionary, but we really all have to work together if we want missionary work to be successful. 

Okay, I'm done being annoying for now. Have a good week!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Week of February 9 2015: Centipede!

Hey guys, 

Not a lot to report on this week. After our baptism-wedding-extravaganza last week, we kind of were left with nothing in terms of investigators, baptismal dates, etc. So this week we've just been contacting a lot, and trying to get into the closed colonies so that we can contact there (which sometimes works, and sometimes we get kicked out by the guards, but it's all in a day's work). One lady we contacted told us that she was busy and when we asked her if she had time later, she told us 'I'm going to busy for the rest of my life BYE,' so that was heartening. 

One kind of cool/weird thing that happened this week is that we found a guy who lives here who's from Florida, and we went and taught him in English, which was super bizarre. I realized that I have NO idea how to teach the gospel in English, and it was also hard because my companion doesn't speak English, so she didn't know what we were talking about and I was just rambling and rambling. But still! English! It was kind of cool. 

I also found a centipede in my house this week, which was terrifying, but I guess finding weird things in one's residence (mushrooms, deadly insects) is all part of the mission experience, and it's beautiful and horrible and BLAH.

So I hope everyone has had a better week than I did, and that this week that's coming will be better for all of us. Read Romans 8, which is my favorite chapter in the NT. Paul is s'great. (That rhymed, and it was unintentional, I'm sorry.)
Sister Campbell

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Week of January 19 2014: Mushroom

Hi guys!

As of this last Saturday, I officially have four months in the mission. It seems simultaneously like a lot and like very, very little. But I think that's generally the way time is on a mission--it feels like it's going super fast and SO SLOW at the same time. But such is the nature of life, I guess. 

Our main focus of this week was a family that the elders who were in the other part of our area before us found, the Perez-Gomez family. They're super special and we almost had to arrange an emergency wedding for them, because they want to get baptized, but they aren't married, and the dad, Candido, really doesn't want to get married (this is a trend for the men here. I cannot tell you why). BUT he had a kind of amazing change of heart this week and they told us that they wanted to get married this Saturday before their kids go back to school (here they start school in January, have a short vacation in June, and finish in October--it's kind of the opposite of the American school system). So we were calling all the LDS lawyers we know to see if they could help us, and if they could do it for free, and trying to get together clothes and flowers and food for this wedding, but then it turned out that they didn't have the documents they needed to get married, so they aren't going to get married until June when their kids come home. It was kind of a disappointment, but it was amazing just to see the changes that they've made in their lives and attitudes. I think that's one of the biggest privileges of missionary work--getting to see people change. It might not always been that they're going to get baptized, but even small changes mean they're coming closer to Christ.

Remember: Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold say unto you, that bsmall and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.
 And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his greaand eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord dotconfound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls. (Alma 37:6-7). 
As for other news this week, we got new beds because apparently ours were super old. As they were taking apart my bed, the guy doing it goes "hay un hongo!!!" which means "there's a mushroom!!!!!" That's right, there was a BIG FAT MUSHROOM growing under my bed. There's always been a weird, mildewy smell in our apartment and I was always searching for the source, and I finally found it. So while you're sleeping in your beds tonight, be grateful that your lives are free of bed mushrooms (if anyone wants to use that as a band name, feel free). 
Tomorrow we have cambios, so my trainer will be leaving and I'll be getting a new compa! I'm a little terrified to be in charge of our area and all of our investigators, and I can't imagine my life without my companion (three months together is a LONG time), but whatever happens, it's revelation, so I can't really complain. 
I hope everyone has a good week, and that your bedrooms are free of fungi. 
Hermana Campbell

Sunday, January 4, 2015

December Letters: 12/22 and 12/29 (Mom was out of town w/o a computer!)

Hi guys, 

Merry almost Christmas! It doesn't super feel like Christmas still, but I did get two Christmas packages this week at our zone conference, and I'm waiting to open them until the 25th. I also have a MoTab Christmas CD, and we have  a tiny tree in our house, so maybe I'll open my packages with the music and the tree and feel a little bit of Christmas (or maybe I'll just cry a lot, which I've also been doing lately). 

We had our Christmas zone conference this week, in which we watched 'The Work and The Glory' and everyone went crazy because there's DRAMA and KISSING and HANDSOME MEN. We also had a turkey dinner for lunch, so that got us into the Christmas spirit a little more. My zone also sang 'Cantan Santos Angeles' (Angels We Have Heard on High), and they made me sing a solo, which was terrifying, but overall it went well. It then took us four hours to get home, because the traffic is INSANE right now because everyone is going out to buy Christmas presents and stuff, so the buses were jam-packed and we had to keep letting them pass because we physically couldn't have fit inside. 

We got back so late that we couldn't do anything, so on Thursday, we had zero lessons, contacts, new investigators, everything. On Friday, we got all psyched up to work really hard and find a ton of people and make up for the day we lost on Thursday. But by 6 o'clock, we hadn't had a single lesson or found a single new investigator. We had walked pretty much through our entire area, and visited all of our investigators and all of the members, but no one was home. We were so sad and discouraged, so I said 'Maybe we should pray?' kind of jokingly. But we found a little clearing of land (where there were a bunch of chickens, how spiritual) and said a prayer, and about five minutes later, we walked by a family decorating their house. We asked if we could leave one of the 'He is the Gift' cards with them, and then I decided to ask if we could watch the video with them, and THEY INVITED US INSIDE! This is super rare for our area, so we were incredibly excited. We went in, sang a Christmas hymn, and said a prayer, then watched the video with them (I don't know if all of you know about this thing, but hopefully you have heard of/seen it). After, we ended up teaching an entire lesson, and by the end, the mom was crying and she wanted to say the closing prayer. As we were leaving, with an appointment to come back the following week, she told us that we had contacted her almost a month ago, but she didn't want to listen to us, and she was really glad that we had found her again. 

I know this sounds like a story from the New Era or something, but I promise you it really happened. It was a super special and rare experience, and I'm just super grateful to be here and be serving a mission in this time of the year. It is hard, and sometimes I do just start crying because I think about everyone having Christmas together without me, but it's a privilege to be here and to learn a little bit more about the love God has for his children. 
One last thing about this week is that we found a TINY puppy walking next door to our house, and took pictures with it. That was another little miracle that occurred this week, but it's a miracle of the SQUEE type and less of the SPIRITUAL type. 

I hope everyone has a good week and the MERRIEST of Christmases. Please watch the Colbert Christmas Special in my honor, because that is probably the thing I miss the most about this Christmas season. 

Sister Campbell

Hi friends and fam, 

This is my last email of 2014! Is it just me, or did this year feel like about five seconds? Is that something an old lady would say? Am I wearing a skirt that probably used to belong to an old lady that I bought in a paca? WHO CAN SAY. 

This week was a lot of fun and a lot of food. On the 24th, which is when everyone celebrates Christmas here, we went around visiting a lot of members and investigators. We got to help make tamales with one of our investigator families, and I got to hold a baby (which is technically against the mission rules, but what can you do when someone hands you a cute, chubby baby??). FYI, tamales are THE thing here for Christmas and New Years, and I ate probably eight of them in the course of two days. Also, everyone makes something called 'ponche,' which is a liquid cooked with fruit, except it's DRIED fruit, that they put in liquid, so it's like re-hydrated fruit? It's kind of horrible, but hey, whatever! Culture! 

The good news is that I officially only have one Christmas left in my mission! The bad news is that I was so sad on Christmas that I ate an entire bag of barbeque-flavored Tortrix (which is a brand of chip similar to Fritos that they only sell here). But more good news, we have great members in our ward and really nice investigators who invited us over for dinners and stuff, and that was really nice. 

It's been hard to find people to teach this week, because everyone is either sleeping or traveling. But one cool thing that happened is that we went to visit this family we contacted a while ago, who were never home when we came by to visit, but this time they were home and let us in and we taught them a whole lesson and they were super receptive and loving and it was just cool to see that even though some people aren't prepared right when you meet them, with time, they can change and be ready. Everything is the Lord's time, you know? 

This email is a little funky, I'm sorry. My zone is yelling at me to get off the computer so we can go to Taco Bell. BUT I hope that everyone has a happy new year and that you're enjoying cold weather for me (because I am sunburned and sweaty). 

Love you!
Hermana Campbell