"This past was la fiesta del barrio por Navidad (Ward Christmas party). And I'm not going to lie... it was the most un-Mexican party I've been to. Dinner was salad, corn, pulled pork and rolls, and pizza. The most Mexican thing was probably the amount of desserts and some specific Mexican ones, too. Oh and then the Mariachi band and the piñata. And this was a good Mexican piñata, not one of those cheap ones you buy at the stores. It took the kids probably a good 15-20 minutes before they really made a dent in it. And after about 30 minutes the bishop finally took it down and then all the kids swarmed it and attacked the piñata (see picture). Obispo (bishop) then ripped open the piñata and threw out candy and it was primary mayhem from there. We all thought that it was going to poke someone's eye out the way it was being hit and they way it was swinging around. It was super crazy, but we really enjoyed the party.
Our church building is called the Lee Trevino Chapel, haha (professional golfer). All the streets here have names instead of numbers and depending on where you live there are different themes. So one part of the area is beach themed (seagull, beachcomber, mermaid) and then others are tower themed (tower arms etc). Then there are people streets like Lee Trevino, George Dieter, etc. It's taken some getting used to, after living in Bellevue with all the numbered streets.
There are 2 stakes in El Paso and each stake is a missionary zone. We'll be meeting together for Zone conference next week. There are English speaking wards and Spanish speaking wards. We teach in English or Spanish (or a combination of both, Spanglish), but who we teach is determined on where they would rather go to church.
We had a good busy week, lots of lessons, and we invited EVERYONE to the Christmas party. And we had 1 family show up. We were so so happy that they were able to make it.
Other things that happened this week:
-We had a really good zone training and we talked about how Christmas is a great time to share the gospel because everyone is a spirit of Christmas.
-My companionship got the car this week and so I've been driving around and learning the streets and everything. It's a weird experience to be driving again.
-We put up a Christmas tree (thanks to one family), lights (thanks to another) so we're all festive and ready for Christmas in our little apartment. And we have an awesome Advent calendar too!
-We had a great lesson with a less active member who wants to come back to church. He is so eager to read his scriptures and come to church and to make changes... the only kicker is that he'd prefer to do it all in English, so we had to pass him off to the English elders in the area.
Here are answers to your questions: (mom was asking her some questions, I thought I'd keep her answers as part of the blog post)
1) Is there a Chase bank in your area? Yes
2) How about a Safeway? No. Subway? Yes McDonalds? Yes. And yes to Target & Walmart.
3) What kind of gift cards would you like for Christmas? Target is always nice because then I can usually get anything.
4) Does your apartment have Christmas decorations?
Yep, we have a tree and lights. Thanks to ward members. Oh and a very very lovely advent calendar.
5) What about music? CD’s? Can you listen to music? Yes. Our music rule is that we can listen anything spiritually uplifting.
6) So when all these members feed you, are you eating Mexican food or regular food?
Well... mostly Mexican food. Thanksgiving was Americanized but I've been getting my fill of Mexican food here too.
7) Will the entire mission be getting together for a Christmas devotional? We really haven't heard anything about Christmas yet. I do know we're allowed 30-40 minutes to Skype family.
We have an average of 20+ lessons a week through teaching investigadores, menos-activos (less active members) and recent converts. So the week was made of up teaching, finding appointments, and scrambling to fill opening spots when someone cancels. We have a busy week ahead of us and our goal this week is to get people to church. If you have any suggestions let me know!"
And to follow up with pictures! The pinata from la Fiesta de Navidad, as well as the primary kids swarming it :) And Emily and her companion, Sister Calloway (center) and Sister Cedarquist (we're not entirely sure who she is.)
In following, due to a suggestion from a friend, we are going to take Emilys address off of the blog. If you would like to send her mail, feel free to use her email or email my mom at email@example.com to get her postal address :)