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, 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.
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).