Whew! What a Christmas! What a WONDERFUL Christmas!!
It was SO good to talk and even SEE you guys! How great was that?? Sorry I was so akward... my brain gets confused still... I´m still trying to do the whole flawless language switch... but I´m not there yet! It´s just the hardest to be in a room surrounded by latinos... hearing spanish all around me... and then trying to speak english. My sad squishy brain is so used to working so hard to muster something in spanish... that it´s forgot how to chill out and do what is natural. Hard!
Nana, thank you SO SO SO much for sending the hymn books! You were truly inspired- and they are and will be much appreciated for years and years and years to come. I had been trying to find some... because there were some special people in mind that needed them... and then... TA DA! You sent them! THANK YOU!
Hearing Andrew Fairbanks mission call is the BEST THING I have heard today! HOW GOOD! WOOHOOO!!! Seriously... this mission thing is THE BEST. I loved my Christmas... and I want to do it like this EVERY YEAR. I can´t imagine a better way to celebrate the birth of our Redeemer than door to door testifying and teaching of Him. There is no better way to feel ¨the Christmas Spirit¨ than to be a witness of lives changing through Him. This opportunity to serve Him, to learn more of Him, take this little steps of progression in my comprehension and application of the Atonement, to feel Him so close, to taste the smallest sabor of His pain, to catch the slightest glimpse of the reality, intensity, and glory of His uncomprehendible love for His children...........- this is the greatest gift and Christmas I could ever dream of. Like Elder Holland said, ¨Missions are the greatest gift God could possibly give to 19 year old young men and 21 year old young women¨- and this Christmas season...... I am unexpressably grateful for this precious gift that I have everyday. I am experiencing and learning things so sacred and beautiful here that I can´t even try to describe.... things that confirm to me every day that- the Lord loves me, and this is EXACTLY where He wants me right now. Someone wrote me, ¨this is where you want to be right now¨- and I want to clarify, that yes- this is where I want to be... but more importantly and undeniably, this is where the LORD wants me to be. I couldn´t want more.
Hermana Bautista thought I was nuts Christmas morning to pounce on her bellowing a chain of Christmas carols... but... it is just SO HAPPY here for me! I can´t describe it... but it´s like... the garbage filled streets seem to me the yellow brick road... those icy showers at five in the morning are ridiculously refreshing... and though the scorpion in the shower did give me a fright... even that had a charming humor to it! (or maybe it was the screaming from my companion that made me laugh... haha- I have a part time job as an exterminator in our house- I´m definatly the man in this relationship) I guess people don´t say ¨Merry Christmas¨ in greeting each other all day like in the states... so again.. I was that awkward funny and overzealous Gringa all day. Anyways... it´s a beautiful life... and as perfect as I want to see it.
I´ve attached pictures... a lot actually. It´s because... I don´t have a golden baptism picture yet... so I tried to compensate with a bunch of silly, moderately pretty, but mostly pointless ones- but it´s definately not the same. I took a picture for Hermana Blanca and her husband at their home- because they desperately wanted to remember it always. Aren´t they beautiful people? Also... there are pictures from our Christmas multizona- super fun... but I would still rather have pictures of the baptism of Juan Carlos. We went through all the baptism questions with him and it was fine, and he was ready to go! So... when the district leader interviewed him... he told him some things of his past that he didn´t want to tell us. He wants more and more to be baptized... but as of right now, he needs an interview with president. We anticipate to do this FOR REAL this domingo... and I am SO excited for him. He´s doing so good with quiting coffee (yes mom, cafe. haha) and is so studious in the scriptures... and is really excersizing su fe. He is totally worth the travel a hundred times over!!
Questions- how is my Banana? How is Victor? Is Laura still in NY??
Umm...a chicken pooped on my head. We were teaching... and I felt something wet and moderately warm land on my head. Yup... a chicken was sitting on a wooden beam directly above me (chickens here are CRAZY! I guess I didn´t know how coordinated they were... or that they could actually fly?)... and alas... my life continues.
I´ve been thinking a lot about the scripture in Mormon 9:31- and trying to really apply it- and it totally works! I am taking baby steps in gratitud for these opportunities to see my PLENTITUD of imperfections... because more than ever... I KNOW the Atonement is real. I am SO grateful for the Plan of Salvation. I LOVE teaching it- because it makes SO MUCH sense. It hurts so much when we teach it... people say, ¨wow! this is so clear!¨and we ask them where they want to live in the end, and they say, ¨Celestial, of course!¨and we ask, ¨what do you need to get there? What is the next step in your spiritual progression to live the Gospel?¨ and they quickly say, ¨Baptism!!¨.... when we KNOW that they get it... and we again invite them to be baptized........ and despite their understanding of the need.... they just plain don´t want to. We have heard such painful reasons like: I don´t want that responsibility, I don´t want to quit cafe, I´m just not baptized kind of person............... and I just don´t want to. There are always many reasons behind these simple answers.... but ultimately... they have their agency- what a gift... but hard for me to accept sometimes as a missionary. The more I teach the Plan of Salvation... and start to see others and especially myself with the clarity of the Gospel.... I am more and more aware, in awe, and gratitud for the perfection and completion of the Atonement. I am excited to spend the whole rest of my life learning of, applying, and changing through the power of the Atonement. Elder Holland told us, ¨teach that they are in trouble and there is only ONE WAY OUT- the Atonement.¨ THAT is the true gift of all of this.... the reason for ALL of this. I am grateful to see my innumerable flaws, weaknesses and sins..... with the hope and comfort that the Atonement brings. That is the fire in me that fuels my desire to dominate this natural man and real live and be what I´m teaching every day.
I can´t believe I have what, 4.5 months as a missionary- how sick is that? I really feel like I just barely stepped into the MTC- wha happened? They told me that time would fly.... and not that I doubted it.... but I never REALLY expected it to fly SO fast! I never want to leave this world of roaming cows, choruses of goats, flying chickens, the smallest women carrying the BIGGEST things on their head, the melody of patting tortillas all along the streets, the power of the hymns sung to the ¨wrong¨ tune, the feeling of family every sabboth, the purpose of EVERY DAY to be a worthy instrument in the Lord´s hands...... gosh- this is THE LIFE.
Speaking of which....I gotta go live it!
Love you all!!