Sunday, December 29, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013! (December 18th-24th)

Merry Christmas from our missionary! It was hard not having her home for the holidays, but lots of family helped the day go by better :) Plus, we got 45 minutes to skype/call her! (skype quit working after about 30 min so we switched to a phone call). She was all smiles :)

Lucky for us, her P-day was Christmas eve so we got a letter from her just the day before :) Here is some of it (again, edited for privacy of the members/investigators. I left the first inital of the name, or the first two if they started with the same letter as another a fore mentioned person):

I don't remember if I told you guys this, but here's a little Mexican culture.  They mostly celebrate Christmas the 24th.  I think it's based off of Catholic traditions of Dinner, mass and then celebrations after.  SO they eat super late at like 7 or 8 and then at midnight open presents.  And then for most families the 25th is just another day (because they've already celebrated).  We have a celebration tonight, but we're leaving by like 8:45... bedtime is at 10:30 :)
This past week has been amazing.  We had a lot of struggles, but a lot of miracles too!  It's amazing how you can see the hand of the Lord in your life when you look.
After p-day we had a lesson with C, and we shared the Joy to the World DVD.  We had to be somewhere after, but once we finished he just kept watching everything else on the DVD, so we left it with him.  The spirit was so strong and it's really a true testament to how this season really is about the Birth of Jesus Christ. 
After our lesson with C we went caroling with some members of the ward.  It was fun, but it became really apparent that singing, is not a Mexican thing (bless their hearts and intentions though)
We had a really good lesson with a man named J.  He has been having lessons for a while, but won't come to church because he has other issues to resolve.  This week we shared "Come Join with Us," Elder Uchtdorf's conference talk from October.  The Spirit was really strong and we thought that he'd actually come to church this week, especially since it was Christmas (he didn't...).  But it was a really good lesson.
Thursday we struggled with finding members to help us.  And we determined that the elders' bikes are too big for me to use... (not that we were exactly surprised), so no car, no bikes and our appointments were too far to walk.  But amazingly enough, we were able to get ahold of Hna Ch, and she was able to help us.  She's new in the ward and pregnant (apparently like everyone else in the family/ward/world.  How exciting!).  We visited Cy, a less active, single mother who has an adorable 3 year old.  We shared the short Nativity video and talked about Christmas and how we can bring the spirit of Christ into this crazy holiday season.  Hna Ch shared how every year before they open presents they think about one they can give Jesus and God the following year.  And then we talked about other things families did. 
After the lesson, we were just talking and Cy turns to Hna and asks "Do you have clothes for your baby?"  And Hna replies that she has newborn but that's about it (baby isn't due until March- and it's a little girl!)  Cy gets up, runs to her garage and grabs 2 garbage bags full of baby girl clothes and tells Hna to take whatever she wants and needs.  It was incredible and the Spirit of Christ and of Christmas was so strong.  Hna Ch kept saying she was so flattered and she now has the cutest clothes ages probably 3-9+ months (and maybe more... I'm not good at guessing clothes and ages...).  But it was a blessing to us about the friendships that should be built in wards and it was a blessing to Hna for going out with us. 
Friday night we went out with Hna and Hno G as member helpers.  And we sat as Hno and Hna taught the lesson.  There were several times were I tried to interject and actually teach but it was to no avail.  But it was good hermanamiento (fellowshipping) because we visited a recent convert family, and a less active family.  And the G's had valuable advice for the families.
All I wrote down on my notes for Saturday was struggles, but miracles happened too.  We were able to have a very good lesson with Ja.  She is super super sweet and was dating a member before he left on a mission.  He wrote her about the church and missionaries and we've had great lessons with her.  The last one we gave her the Book of Mormon and she told us how she and her mom read it and they like it.  It was super cute because she said all her mom wanted to do was watch her telenovelas but Ja said "Mom! This is the word of God.  We need to read it" and so they did.
We took a recent convert family caroling that night to start a new family tradition.  They have 3 kids (2 girls and a boy too!) and so it was a fun adventure.  We had chosen two songs earlier to make it earlier, but they just ended up singing, Noche de Luz the whole time.  And after dropping us off at the apartment, they came back and caroled to us.  It was so sweet!  (And at one of the houses we were able to teach a very short Christmas lesson.  And they were able to make friends!)
Yesterday we had planning so we didn't get out of the house until 4, but we decided to swing by Ca's house to see if she was home!  And she was.  She opened the door and said, "Estoy occupada... pasen"  (I'm busy... come in) and then we were able to talk to her for an hour and teach her a little.  She was making buñuelos. We shared Juan 3:16-17.  Her grandson was there too, and I made a new friend... the poor kid didn't want to say good bye.  We were also able to have a lesson last night with a different Ca that we'd been trying to get a hold of.  So yesterday was a day of Cas :). 

And lastly, as always a few pictures to follow up:

 Here is Em's Christmas tree, and the bike that she was given to ride. You can clearly see that it is waaaay to big for her :) We're working on finding her a proper sized bike.

 Em loves kids, and made quick friends with this little boy :) you can see how happy she is
Even better, a little girl covered in stickers that our aunt and uncle sent to Em :)

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