twas the week before Christmas
and all through my head
run mem'ries of you friends
from waking to bed.
I miss writing. Emails are nice and my extensive note taking while studying is nice too, but I miss writing, poetry, and scraps of stories and even essays.
Merry Christmas everyone! Happy holidays too, if you're into that kind of thing :). Out here in fabulous Las Vegas we've got the AC on and all the fruit is still fresh. The mountains have snow and the streets here are extra shiny (due to the increased amount of drinking, driving, and littering - usually all done somewhat simultaneously).
I haven't got mail yet but to those of you who sent me things, thankkkkkkkk you!
Like all weeks, this one has been wonderful. Things are always looking up and I love the people I'm serving more and more each day. Since no one has told me otherwise, I'll continue doing what I have been doing, word vomiting about me!
Monday was PDAY so naturally we ran around and tried to accomplish everything we needed to but... in the end didn't have time to do it all. Which left me without time to write to all of you individuals. I feel horrible about that. That night we went to stop by Jovita's house to have a lesson with her but when she got there she was outside on the phone. We rode up to the gate and could tell that something was wrong. We asked, and she said that now was probably not a good time and told us to come back later. She was crying and looked mad and was clearly super upset. Yikes. I don’t like crying women, it makes me feel super ... inadequate. Like the time that Antonia was bawling, oh man I about lost it. Anyway. We asked her what had happened and she opened up and started telling us in her super fast, super Mexican Spanish, what had happened. Because things aren’t super safe she hides all her money and jewelry and stuff like that in her bedroom just in case something were to happen. And she isn’t super well off, but she has nice things. But Sunday after church she went to put her earrings and stuff away and everything was gone. The money and the gold and all that. She didn't know what had happened. While telling us the story she informed us that she's super forgetful and is always misplacing things. But she said that she searched everywhere and couldn’t find it and that she had just gotten one of the bags out this morning so she didn’t know what had happened. She asked all her kids to go through and search the whole house and they all did except her 2nd oldest daughter (who is 18 so it was kind of understandable). They searched and searched and searched but they didn’t find it. She then she figured someone must have snuck in and stole it. All the kids said it wasn't them so she took her daughter the 18-year-old one and they drove down to the pawn store around the corner to see if it had been sold and they could maybe find some information about the person who sold it. But when they got to the store the girl wouldn’t leave the car. She tried and tried and tried and tried to get her to leave but she wouldn't and wouldn't tell her mom why either. So Jovita went in by herself to ask about the pieces but pawnshops don’t just disclose that information easily, go figure. So here while telling this story is where it got really hard for her. She started crying real bad about how she assumed the worst and didn't want to. She couldn't help but assume that her daughter had stolen all her things. But she didn't want to think such things about her. Then she said, she doesn't even care about the money she just wants to feel safe with her own family in her own home and wants her kids to be honest with her. A lot of the other littler details were lost in the wash of Spanish but I came away from that visit knowing so much more about her. She is such a caring mother with such a big heart. She cheered up a lot after telling us all this and we talked about her plans for being baptized. I'm so glad I'm not a parent to have to deal with that. She laughed when I told her that and said something to the effect of you'll change your mind when you are. I'm bad at telling stories I wish I could explain the whole thing better. But it totes broke my heart to see her so happy on Saturday and then so sad on Monday. That was the majority of Monday. In my journal I wrote I love life so much and I want to make sure everyone in the whole world knows it. So here's the memo: I love life!
Tuesday. Tuesday I realized I need to name my not-so trusty steed. Any suggestions? But I was on exchanges with Elder Chacon in his area so I got to meet a bunch of new people, which was cool. But then, at dinner. We got the call. Elder Talmage was needed elsewhere. It was tragic. Like it was super sad. But! That's where the Lord wanted him so I got over it pretty quick, even though he was pretty grumpy about it. So then things went back to just Elder Bennett and I. Which is great. But we both agree that things are a little empty without Talmage's stuff everywhere. And we miss his sass a lot too. After dinner we had a sweet lesson about the power of prayer with a family of newish converts. Everyone was involved and it was cool. Kids are the best. We were focusing on the two sisters and the things that they needed to talk to God about and then each of their 6 kids came in one by one into the room to talk about the things they wanted to pray about. I was shocked that orphans and homeless people came up much more often than ponies and race cars. It made me smile the whole time to talk to them all and hear their sincere prayers and desires to help the less fortunate. And I could see that the children's commitment to others and Heavenly Father softened the hearts of their mothers. Then we visited a former investigator and talked about the Book of Mormon. It was a cool lesson but I was totally distracted by the Husky German Shepherd puppy. Oh my gosh, it was sooooo cute. It was huge but still so young and when he wagged his tail his whole body wagged too. I probably should have paid more attention but I couldn’t understand and to be honest I probably didn’t try hard enough. Side note to anyone not skimming - humility in all parts of life is crucial to success, that's what I think. And that night I saw Ryan (Sarah's husband) in the March 2007 New Era! Cool eh?
Wednesday. I did a double exchange so I was with Sherwood in my area and we had a lot of great lessons. After a lesson with Jovita she made us chicharon tacos and they were so spicy that my tongue swelled up so big I couldn’t talk. She thought that was hilarious and laughed and laughed and laughed. In retrospect it was funny but I was about dying during it. Man oh man. Then later we had a lesson about faith with a part member family and it was so powerful. The husband has been less active for a number of years and his wife isn’t super interested but the other day we must have come at a perfect time because it was so powerful. I don’t think their was a dry eye in the room. Except for maybe my right one. The wife actually took the lead in the lesson and it was totally indescribable. Sherwood and I talked for a long time that night about Arkansas (where he's from). It was a good day. I've gotta pick up the pace!
Thursday was district meeting, which is always cool. At dinner that night there was Christmas music playing and the little 4 year old was trying to dance with me. It was adorable. That night we had a lesson with Marcos about the Book of Mormon (we have about 3 of these a week). He is progressing, but just so slowlyyyyyy. I want to just yell in his face and scream - STOP DRINKING AND CHANGE YOUR LIFE! YOU WILL BE HAPPIER, I PROMISE! But he has his agency and eventually he will get there. He always says that he wants to change but he isn't strong enough. Sigh. It sucks loving people because it makes you sad when they are sad. <- Take this with a grain of salt of course. Later we had a meeting with a new investigator. It was super sick. Says pretty much first thing "I have no faith, but I'm willing to try." When we talked a little more about faith, and all that she said that she's willing to learn how to, and willing to try to have it. Sounds like a desire to me (see Alma 32:28).
Friday was weekly planning and not too much exciting happened. Sorry!
Saturday was our ward's Christmas party and I arranged and played a musical number with the missionaries. It was super cool. But it made me so sad that I didn't stay with piano because I always get asked to play. Like all the time. With a bit of practice I played the song well and it sounded really good but I wished I could have played for everyone that asked. I feel like a lazy turd because of it.
Sunday was awesome for a myriad of reasons. A good number of our investigators showed up and Salvador came for the first time and gave me a hug when he saw me, which rocked. He had to work after sacrament meeting but he had a really good experience, which made me really happy. Jovita was there and when I asked her how she was doing she said that she was doing great. "Everything was not so great before and I was kind of sad, but now I feel wonderful!" She said that after sacrament meeting and I was so happy. There is something different about the progression of the people we teach when they go to church on Sunday. She was so happy and it made me feel good to see that we had helped her in just a little way. Well we didn’t help her, we just invited her to help herself.
I always write too much at the beginning and don’t have time to elaborate on all the things at the end. But my time is up and I've gotta run.
I love you all so much.
remember the reason for the season