Hello Family and dear friends!!!!
I just can´t believe that it´s over just as quick as that! Christmas I mean. I kept trying to remind myself that Christmas was coming. I just cannot get over the summer heat to have holiday cheer. Weird maybe but it´s a struggle. Mostly, the fact that the whole world over is celebrating SOMETHING right now, if it be our Savior or not, our focus is the same YEAR ROUND. We love and praise our loving Heavenly Fatherand remember His Son every week as we partake of the sacrament and many times in between. I LOVE Christmas though for the FAMILY focus.
It´s such a wonderful thing to see people enjoy the quality family time that comes with this holiday season and the end of another wonderful year.
I have spent ALL of 2011 in Argentina with these wonderful people and I love them SO MUCH! I am so grateful also to be here with the companions that I´ve had. I know that they were put here especially for our investigators and members and for me to learn from and to love.
It was so great to be able to talk to you all on Saturday. It was so fun even though it always comes with just a little bit of anxiety trying to make sure that we get everything worked out in order to SEE and TALK to you! It worked out great, you got to see my companions and even though, like mom said, the time FLIES by, it was time well-cherished. I feel like afterward I could think of way more that I wanted to tell you but it´s all good. We have time.
Then Sunday was a crazy thing trying to get our investigators out of their houses and warm beds into church! We only had sacrament meeting and it was at a different time combined with the ward that we share the building with but Prince got there and a few more and it was so good!!
If you think about how awesome Prince is and how badly he needs to just make the decision and be baptized...he does NOT speak Spanish. He doesn´t have a job here yet because he can´t speak the language. BUT even though the whole church meeting is in Spanish, he comes EVERY WEEK! He´s so much more prepared than he believes...
Sacrament was great and we got a chance to greet and see all of our beloved members and wish them a merry Christmas! Hna Erickson and I couldn´t see the Pinto´s so we were wondering where they might have gone for Christmas but then we saw them and were so happy!!
Hna Dunn had some sort of allergic reaction to some tarantulas that we held last week at their house...yeah, did I tell you about that?? Hno Pinto´s spider collection was on my hand last week...yick. I would send you pictures but the Pinto´s have them so bug Camilly to get them! haha they were gross but one might have scratched Hna Dunn´s hand because it got red and has little bumps. Hna Dunn was super freaked out so she asked Hno Pinto about what it could be and he calmly and very seriously informed her that she could die.... haha NOT! But poor Hna Dunn´s face. haha It was probably an allergic reaction and it´s going away now.
We had this GIANT mission conference/Christmas fireside in PILAR this week. On Thursday, the whole (North part) of the mission was mobile and on our way north, north, north to the LDS campsite facility that they use for EFY and other youth conferences. It was so great and the FIRST time I´ve ever seen the majority of the mission all together.
There were about 150 missionaries I think plus 2 senior couples that we got to have a white elephant exchange and had a scripture chase and a wonderful Christmas devotional. It was great to see all the sisters together too. We were missing TWO of my old companions that are in the south but they know I love them dearly. I got pictures of all the sisters and will be sending those next week (because my camera battery JUST died...lame)
Oh! Sunday, yesterday, Christmas day! We had lunch with Familia Marquina who I LOVE. We hardly get to eat with them because Hna Marquina is serving in the Primary and gets last dibs on inviting us to her house. But HNO Marquina got the calendar two weeks ago and wrote his family in for Christmas. I was pretty excited because I love the whole family sooo much also.....because Hno Marquina´s profession is.......CHEF! haha AND he´s Peruvian which equals double yum. We had a traditional Peruvian meal for our Christmas feast: seviche and duck!
First of all, I LOVE SEVICHE! It was the first time I had ever eaten it but it was SUPER delish! It is fish and all kinds of seafood cooked by the lemon juice it sits in for a few hours. By all kinds of seafood, I mean, SQUID, fish, mussel, and other things that I don´t know in English...YUM! And you have to drink the juice because it´s really rich with the nutrients that the lemon and other condiments add to the seviche. It´s even sold separately in Peru called Leche de Tigre (Tiger´s milk). And then the duck, that had been marinating in deliciousness for 24 hours, with the typical MOUNTAIN of rice and beans. Soo good but soo much food. We left nearly rolling around. I was happy though :)
Ok, I just want to tell you some great miracle stories named Ryan and Maria.
Well, I told you a little about Ryan on Saturday but his whole story is just so amazing. His mom is a member of the church but when he was young he decided that the Church of Jesus Christ wasn´t for him and left it. He was never baptized because his father was not a member of the Church and his parents never forced him to choose. Well, years later, after becoming a research doctor studying STEM CELLS and on the side being a dancer, including in the BYU Living Legends, he came to Argentina for a study abroad and loved it. After returning to the U.S. and graduating, he moved back to live in Argentina. He´s been here for 10 years and met a great future Sister missionary in a Bolivian dance group. Hna Noemi shared with her dance group (that dances purely traditional Bolivian dances) that she had received her mission call, what she was going to do and when she was leaving. Ryan showed great interest and she set up a time to meet with us. Now, Ryan in spending a month in México with his mother who is THRILLED that he has decided to be baptized because he has now asked to know that this is true. He knows it and will follow through with making a sacred covenant with the Lord. I am SO excited for him!!!
Maria, a wonderful, wonderful woman that reminds me sooo much of Mom it´s crazy. She´s from the north of Argentina, Corrientes and we found her because we were trying to contact some referrals from a member.
They weren´t home but as we were leaving the building, the member (a wonderful member missionary) started grabbing things and helping Maria move in. We grabbed some more things and worked together very quickly to move all the things in from the street. As we were working, Maria kept saying that God had answered her prayers with angels. It was such a wonderful opportunity to be there at the right moment to find her. She has had marvelous spiritual experiences with prayer and the Book of Mormon and she is progressing wonderfully. She´s a nurse so she has a rotating schedule that makes it so until now, she has been working Sundays but!....dah dah dah!!! THIS SUNDAY SHE’S OFF!!! Hooray! She´s going to church and we are so happy, happy, happy!!!
I love this work. It brings so much joy to all those involved in it. It´s because it is the great and marvelous work that the Lord has entrusted us to do. A marvelous work and a wonder is NOW coming forth.
Thank YOU ALL for the wonderful testimonies you share with me, for the support to me and other missionaries and for your prayers. I wish everyone a safe and wonderful end of the year and that this coming year brings great things and goal making and especially achieving!!!!!!!!!!
PLUG FOR JOURNALS: WRITE IN THEM!!!! If you don´t have one, START ONE.
If you have one and it´s gathering dust on the shelf, make a habit of writing what you learned in the day every night. You WON´T regret it.
You learn sooo much from yourself because you may have already learned something from an experience but because you didn´t write it down, the next time something similar happens, you don´t know what to do. Don´t forget to show the Lord gratitude for personal revelation! WRITE IT DOWN! It means you care and will remember and follow the Spirit´s counsel and you will keep getting MORE.
Love you, love you, love you!!!
Have a wonderful week!!!
my email is being weird so I don´t have the option to make the font
bigger or a different color but just know that if I COULD, it would be
HUGE and gaudy :) (Mom did it for you my dear missionary)
Have a WONDERFUL BIRTHDAY!!!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! WOWWWWW 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Have a wonderful week and we´ll talk NEXT YEAR!!!