**ASK THE MISSIONARIES IN YOUR WARD WHEN YOU CAN TEACH WITH THEM NEXT!!***
"Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven." -3 Nephi 12:16
WOW! Weeks go by SO fast here! We had a fun zone white elephant gift exchange and I grabbed a cute stuffed elephant and some candy, but there were some funny and interesting gifts given out! That’s what us missionaries do for fun on pdays:) Today will be a snowball fight in this HUGE park! I'm excited!
We met with Yulene; her children were really sick and we taught her a little bit about how God loves us and gave us families so we can progress here on Earth. She is an amazing mother and has a wonderful family! I'm excited to see her progress!
Kenaya Coca is an AWESOME member in our ward! She is studying at the U and has a brother on a mission in California! She is a sweetheart and came out with us a couple of times and she let us come to her house to Skype our families! Her mom bought us hand wash towels for Christmas and she bought us each cute bracelets that say "Inspire" and "Blessed". We love her and them so much!
We met a family on Christmas Eve morning named the Carranza Family. They have a lot of little children that sang on Christmas Sunday "Away in a Manger" as a family. It was beyond precious. The mother always cries when she sees sisters because she remembers when she was taught and the feelings she felt thanks to the sisters in her home so many years ago. Her husband was talking about when we leave on our missions and the change our families are going to see in us. I started to get a little teary eyed because that’s EXACTLY what I want. I don’t want to come home and people see me the same way. I work every single day to be a better Christlike person and I truly hope it shows now and after my mission -- not only to my family, but everyone I come into contact with.
We met Erika Velez. She has like 5 little girls under the age of 10. Their family of mostly girls reminded me a little of home. She had a beautiful tree given to her by a member in the ward that put a picture of Christ with children and a sign underneath that says "Families can be together forever." I complimented her on the tree. She said she would like to know more about the church and we plan on teaching her soon!
We made Christmas Eve Dinner for a family that the mom is having severe back pain. It felt funny preparing food for a family of 5, rather than myself. I felt like I was making food for my family back home. I loved the way I felt after leaving her house. Christmas is all about service and I love serving.
We met with a Cuban named Barbara. She is sweet and lovely and has a huge 6 month old boy. I'm excited to get to know her and teach her so her family can be together forever.
We ate dinner at the ward mission leader’s home. We had posole and tortas (again another holiday with Mexican food) haha. I love it and will be adopting certain Hispanic traditions when I return back home. (I was pronounced a Latina – that’s so exciting; mainly because I love the people so much....)
On Christmas, it SNOWED!!! I FINALLY got the Christmas wish I have always wanted (too bad friends and family weren’t there too, but that’s okay). We taught Maria Rodriguez and sang a Christmas carol to her! After, we went to the Banos family; they fed us tamales and hot chocolate with some pecan pie to eat. We shared a scripture and sang a Christmas song. Then we went to Skype our families; SUPER FUN BUT I ALWAYS CRY.... It’s not because I hate the mission, it’s not because I miss them daily (I mean...I do but you get it...) it’s because I realize HOW MUCH I LOVE THEM AND THEY MEAN TO ME. It makes me realize the true reason why I’m out here serving and not being with family and friends during the holiday times. And while emails are just letters on a computer screen, actually viewing your family that you love so much on Skype will never be easy for me. We got lost on our way to our dinner appointment, but we still found time to sing Christmas songs and I played some hymns on the piano and we talked about our missions. I also realized as we were walking in the snow and my feet were cold, Sister Gonzalez asked "man! why is no one opening the door?” It’s Christmas! and I’m cold and want I to meet new people, should we just go home?" I thought about how good a warm home sounded. How good getting out of the freezing snow and actually being able to feel my toes and hands would be. Then I realized why: I told her "We should try this home and we probably shouldn’t go home today. We need to be out working even if no one is home. This work is worth freezing for! This gospel and the blessings it brings is the reason we are here! We need to tell others this message and share it. So, just one more door!" We knocked, the door opened, and Sister Gonzalez was super happy. As we were thawing out, I realized how dedicated I am to His work and how there is nowhere in the world, (even my bed) that I would rather be on Christmas day than knocking on the doors of members and investigators to teach the gospel.
We had another really spiritual lesson with Maria. She cried when I asked her how her prayers and communication with her Heavenly Father were going. She shared an experience when her father needed eye surgery and she said she just poured out her heart to God and everything went okay. I love Maria and I know her potential. She is amazing and knows God answers her prayers.
We also visited Maurie. She and her husband have an INCREDIBLE story. Basically, he was in jail and someone handed him an English bible. He knows 0 to little English and had someone translate it for him. Next, he found the church and then helped this lady (Maurie) get off the streets and get clean since she was a severe addict. They were married November 2nd and she was baptized November 15th. They are now looking forward to the temple. They have 8 boys and possibly awaiting twins to arrive soon. I shared with the boys how wonderful it will be for them to go to the temple with their parents. To just hear their story and see their house filled with pictures of the Savior and temple just shows you how much this gospel can change lives. I love them so much.
Saturday was a hard day. We walked all day and only 2 people opened their doors for us. One was our dinner appointment. It was another day of reflecting on how much I love this work and even when days like that go by, I'm able to show my diligence and love to the Lord in order to find the people that need this gospel.
Sunday was a great day too! No investigators came to church, but Maurie and her husband did! We taught Gospel Principles and sent out a list to the Young Women and Relief Society in order to get some members to come out with us! PLEASE GO OUT WITH YOUR MISSIONARIES AND HELP THEM TEACH!!! We did service again and cooked for the sister with the injured back. She gave us a "tour" of her house that included pictures of her son who is on his mission in Peru. He’s been out 2 months and I’m not kidding that EVERY room in that house had at least 5 pictures of him...
I love you all and hope you have a wonderful new year! I love this time of year to focus on my goals and resolutions! I have many planned for the New Year, but my main goal is to give up my will to my Father’s will.
Happy New Year!
p.s. I saw Santa riding a motorcycle one day in Rose Park.... gotta love it :)