Merry Christmas!! Feliz Navidad!! Today is my official 2 month mark and Christmas is just around the corner! There is so much to celebrate and be thankful for this year. New Mexico has treated me so well so far and I’m looking forward to spending the holidays here with all of my new found friends. Seriously the people here, investigators and members alike, have been so welcoming and all around wonderful.
Also, I wanted to extend a thank you to each one of you that have reached out to me this holiday season and sent your love my way. I have the best support and when I have the occasional tough day out here, it’s your loving words that help get me through it.
Recently I came across a talk given by President Howard W. Hunter, titled "The Gifts of Christmas." It’s super great and I recommend taking the time to read it in its entirety. In it, he gave this advice: "This Christmas, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and then speak it again." It can’t really be said any better than that. Merry Christmas! Love you all!
Things have been going great! I spend a lot of time in little trailer parks out here in Albuquerque and I am loving it. I’ve encountered dogs of every size and people of every type. It’s great. Luckily, since we’re sisters, we have a car and a pretty decent apartment and the AP’s are in the same apartment complex if ever we needed the priesthood 🙂
I’m getting better at eating Mexican food! I still don’t like it all that much, but I’m so thankful to be fed by the members here. Most of them don’t have very much and it means a lot that they’re willing to share what they do have. They have all been so welcoming and so patient with my Spanish. I couldn’t have asked for a better area. Plus, this past week a member taught me how to make tamales, so now I have that useful skill in my back pocket!
Our Spanish branch is pretty few in members and spread out over a big area. Most of the congregation is made up of recent converts. On Sunday when we began to sing the opening hymn, there were only about 30 people present and probably about 25 of them were tone deaf. That didn’t stop them from singing out with all their hearts though! I wasn’t prepared and I choked on laughter when the first hymn started. It reminded me of the tradition my family has of singing “Happy Birthday” as awful as we all possibly can. I got a nudge and a scolding look from my companion, but eventually she couldn’t help it either and had to stifle her own laughter too.
My companion, Hermana Cifuentes, is awesome. She works SO hard and can be exhausting to keep up with, but I love how much she pushes me to be better. She’s really patient. I’m helping her to learn English (she’s a native Spanish speaker from Gautemala) and she’s helping me (so, SO much) with my Spanish. I have been blessed with the best. We laugh and have a lot of fun together, but we also get down to business and grind it out every day. There hasn’t been a night yet where I haven’t been asleep the second I hit the pillow.
It’s only been a week and yet I already have felt like I’ve changed and grown so much. I’ve learned a lot about myself and about this incredible Gospel I’ve been called to preach. Prayer has become so much more meaningful to me. I know there truly is a God and that He is the father of our spirits. As our parent, He loves us very much. When we pray, He listens. Of that much I’m sure. When we are in need of comfort or guidance from Him, we need only to ask.
I love being a missionary. I love this crazy language and I love the people here. I miss you all and hope things are going well. You’re in my prayers! Have a great week!