On Christmas Eve I will have completed 6 months in the mission. Pretty crazy. Almost know what I am doing here.
Looking back, it has been a blur. I honestly don't know how I have made it this far. Well, yeah I do. All with the Lord's help. I like that poem called Footprints where a man is walking on the beach with the Lord and across the sky are flashing scenes of his life. Turning around and looking back, the man realized that during the hardest times of his life, when he needed the Lord the most, there was only one set of footprints. Turning to the Lord he asked why it was so, why he was left to walk alone during the most trying times of his life, to which the Lord responded, "Child, it was during those times that I carried you." Honestly I have been carried so much during these 6 months it is insane. I can speak Spanish now. What? I can eat sopa de mondonga (cow stomach soup) and only throw up 4 times while I am eating it. I am living in the murder capitol of the world following the call to serve from a living prophet of God, and it is not at all easy, most of all it is just spiritually and emotionally and mentally draining. But what I have learned is that when we are doing the Lord's work, we are entitled to His help. Pretty sure that God has gotten way buffer from carrying me through the sand all this time but I have needed it.
Everyone here is super pumped for Navidad. You can tell because at night you feel like you are walking through Iraq. It sounds like a legitimate warzone. There are explosions and fireworks everywhere. There have been a few times when a firework has rolled in front of us as we have been walking and we have had to do epic dives to save ourselves and when we get up our ears are ringing. We pretty much look like this all the time, except with shirts and ties...
We had good week and a ton happened. We went and visited a part of our area we had never visited to try and find new people to teach and found some really sweet new people to teach.
And Claudia got baptized! I don't remember how much I have written about her but she is a super smart and dedicated single mom that we totally found miraculously about one month ago. Even though she has had people from pretty much every single religion come and just attack the church with every lie/misconception/whatever-they-can-think-of from the moment we first visited her, she dedicated herself to finding the answer for herself by reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it with an honest desire to know, and she received an answer that it was true. That really is the only way anyone can know if what we say is true, And the reason I am here is because I did the same thing and got an answer through the power of the Holy Ghost. Anyways, we went to walk with her to the church to be baptized and she was going to leave her baby with her mom. Apparently, someone had left the stove on and so the oven filled with gas and just as we were about to leave, Claudia's mom opened the oven and all the gas exploded out, but miraculously didn't ignite. Everyone was pretty shaken up, and we thought that Claudia would be way too upset to still want to be baptized that day but, being as super awesome as she is, she still wanted to go so we went and baptized her. The thing is, that morning we had passed by their house and felt pretty nervous about the baptism, like Satan was going to try again to pull something and stop her from following through with her decision. We said a quick but fervent prayer to ask that she would be protected and that everything would go as planned, and it did. One more miracle for the count.
Other than that, just prepping for a Christmas filled week! We are going to focus on just visiting families and sharing a Christmas message this week. Sometimes people get so focused on calling us "Mormons" and the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith that they forget that we are members of the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints, and that He, Jesus Christ, who was born in a stable as the son of a humble carpenter, is the center of literally everything we say and do. We talk about J. Smith and Book of Mormon a lot because it is what people don't know about or don't understand and want to know about, but we are really just Christian missionaries, doing the same thing that the Apostles and the early Elders of the church that Christ established 2000 years ago did, traveling from home to home sharing the good news that God speaks to us, that He has sent a Savior to succor his people and to give them hope, and that this same Savior taught us how to have true happiness and return to live with Him forever after this life. I know that the story of Christmas is real, that the spirit of Christmas is really just the spirit of Christ, and although I won't hear the words "You'll shoot your eye out" or watch "Elf" or have a white elephant gift exchange Moff Christmas party this year, it'll still be a great Christmas. Even in Spanish.
Thanks to everyone who wrote me a short little blurb thingy. Made me remember how blessed I am to have so many amazing friends and to know so many awesome people. Have an amazing Christmas and God bless you, Everyone!