Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas is one week away!

I love my family, día 559, Week 80, 1 Week until Christmas!

It was quite the week. It doesn't seem fair that the week only has seven days in it. The time passes so quickly, especially when there is more than one big event. We are in change week. This time the changes are on Thursday (unclear as to why) which means that I'll know what is up Wednesday night. Ever since leaving Miraflores I haven't been sure of what could happen and I am in the same quandry of desperated waiting. It appears that I could go almost anywhere in the mission. And there is also the option that my ZL tenure could be up. There are 36 or so missionaries coming in this change so I could train. Who knows! As Enya wisely said, “only time.”

It was a busy week of mission events, lawyer visits and baptism prep.

Monday we visited Elvia and family. It is interesting to note how examples of family members can play into a person's interest in the gospel. In that household Elvia (82), Axel (12), and Justin (female – 22) are all members. But for Russell (21) and Anderson (8) who are not members their progression in the gospel has been heavily correlated with their family members dedication to the gospel. When Axel decided not to go for a while Anderson didn't go either. For Elvia's persistence she helped Russell to go to church and for a while he even stopped drinking, smoking, and fornicating. So the Sundays when Axel, Elvia, or Russell have gone to church, so has Anderson, but to the contrary when Elvia hasn't gone it is impossible that any of them go. Family examples are important, especially when others' salvation is in play.

Tuesday started the week full of big events. We finally had the opportunity for me to teach to Elder Oveson how to get people married. I wrote down all the instructions and all of our friends' phone numbers and then took him around the city so that when the Elders ask him for a wedding a mere 3 or 4 days in advance, as they do to me, he'll be able to respond and make all their dreams come true. It's all about being friends with the lawyer and knowing the importance of certain papers. In the afternoon when we went to our area to work we were able to do divisiones with Elder Folsom and Elder Gonzalez. They came up to the city a day before the Christmas Party for the outside-of-the-city-zones because they're having some wedding paper difficulties and under my suggestion to use our old lawyer they came up to get those papers taken care of. So I went with Elder Folsom and Elder Oveson went with Elder Gonzalez. It felt just like a month ago. We were able to visit several of our converts and old investigators and current investigators that we found together. To finish the night we went to the Zuniga's for dinner with the other Elders too. They are so good to us. They really remind me of Sterling and Tiff in awesomeness. In the evening hours Elder Gonzalez and I, just like the last time we had a slumber party, stayed up too late like tiny school girls talking about all kinds of things. Of course our conversation turned to Summer 2013. He feels that he needs to see his family (currently residing in Mexico near Guadalajara). He hasn't seen his mother in what will be 4 years next summer. So we talked about a few options. He is going to be working out whether he flies to Mexico or whether he flies his mom to Texas for a while (I offered that she could stay at our house). So by next week I'll know a bit better what he's thinking. I love him. Still hoping that we'll be companions, but, the candle of my faith is dimming with only 4 changes left and the both of us leaving our areas this change most likely going to our last areas.
Zone Picnic above the temple grounds

Wednesday were invited to eat breakfast at the Zuniga's (under Elder Folsom's request – taking advantage of being here to visit). We had to go back to Tablas (lawyer) quickly Wednesday morning to pick up the papers of Folsom and Gonzalez and then drop them off at the church. For all that we had going on this week Wednesday night was actually slow-ish. We did have quite the experience though. As a part of the slow night, in desperation we were walking along on the way to an old, old investigator and in the rich section of our area we were stopped by a woman holding a baby in front of a house that I've always wanted to enter, one of the biggest. The first thing that she said to us was “will you marry my daughter?” After laughing a bit with her we were dragged up to the second floor of the house where the embarrassed daughter and the cousin were uncomfortably enfronting the mother/aunt. It was quite funny. In the end we were able to talk to the cousin and teach a bit about the Restoration and we said a prayer and left. I wish I was keeping track of formal marriage offers.

Thursday was the Mission Christmas Party for city zones. We had the musical devotional. I played the rendition of O Holy Night that Mommy sent me, sang in a “Gringo Quartet” with the other 3 gringos in our zone to the Away in a Manger in the Children's song book (the Asleep, asleep one), I hummed in the back of the Hermanas' number – Little Drummer Boy and accompanied/organized our zone's number. One Elder was reading secions from Luke 2 in between a few lines of the Christmas songs in the Hymn book. Also every other zone asked me to play for them. It was a great time! We went to the temple as you can see, we ate an awesome lunch and then we watched TOY STORY 3. It was awesome. In the night after all that party business got done with we got back to our proselyting and baptismal interviews. We had our DL over to do those. It was delightful. I've decided that my favorite latins are the mexicans. They're the funniest, hardest working, and most obedient.

Friday we went to the lawyer to get our wedding papers taken care of. Since Thursday was the party we had to have our district meeting on Friday. It was delightful. I really love our missionaries. Even though they seem tired and need changes they're all great and all progressing spiritually. After getting back we spent most of the afternoon preparing for the baptismal service of Rosaura who's been investigating the church for 3 years. We didn't do anything other than show up. I feel blessed. She is loved by the ward and already serves.

Hector & Janet
Saturday was just baptism and wedding prep and interviews and a few prelimenary visits. Hector and Janet got married and baptized along with Elvia's grandson who recently completed 8 years. It was nice. The ward didn't support too much but at least the bishop was there! The new norm for missionaries is that members to all the baptizing. Hopefully I won't get in the font again.

Sunday after church I was called away in a piano event. The stake choir director (also for the temple) of my former stake (Guaymuras) called and asked me to come in and play for an event of hers for this coming Saturday. She got permission from Presidente. He told me it was fine (staying in the city...???) So I went to practice with them while my companion stayed here and worked. When I got back we watched the long Restoration with Andrea who was crying by the end after our testimonies and her prayer. First time she's ever shown emotion. Hopefully she gets baptized this week.
Rosaura & former Bishop Duron


Presidente Uchtdorf and Elder Holland are coming to dedicate it and they'll talk to all the missionaries the week before the dedication. That will be super cool. Elder Holland is every missionary's hero.

Love and miss you lots. Who knows what'll happen next week.

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