First off, Christmas was great! I loved getting to talk to you guys:) I think I got the most time out of everybody. Hna A just let me talk and talk so that was great! We went back to our house after Skyping and we watched Monsters University and then started Arthur Saves Christmas or whatever the name is. But we didn't finish because at midnight we went up on our roof--there are stairs, don't worry! That is where our laundry line is--and there were fireworks and bottle rockets and all sorts of racket! It was like New Year's Eve but for Christmas. The whole street and all the air was just smoke! It was way fun! There were literally fireworks right above my head! So the Central American custom is to open presents at midnight on Christmas so after fireworks we opened all of our gifts. I had the most:) But really, Christmas isn't about gifts... So Hna A loves the scarf and the American pens and she eats the Disney mints all the time now. She was just grateful to have gotten presents. She really liked the box from Grandma and Papa with all the pens and notepads and stuff. All of my clothes fit perfectly! And I love them all! My journal is super cute! Everything was just perfect! I am just super grateful this year, more than ever before, for the gifts that I received. The package from the Swansons was perfect, too! I waitd until Christmas morning to open it so I would have something to open Christmas morning. I got some chocolate protein bars and candy, a Clemson shirt and mug (smile), a purple watch that is super cute, athletic shirts and 2 tank tops that match skirts I have perfectly! And other stuff, too. It was just perfect!!!! So on Christmas Day we went out as all four of us hermanas. We shared a Christmas message and then visited a member in the ward and she gave me my first tamales in Honduras! They were a lot better than the ones in the CCM. Anyway, that was my Christmas!
On Christmas Eve and Christmas morning I just couldn't stop smiling because I was just so happy. President D called us and I was just so happy. :) Even though I was away from home it was a Christmas that I will never forget.
This week has been hard for Hna M and I. (NOTE: Hna M is the other American sister missionary in their house) On the plus side, Hna A was only sick like one day this week. And we had one lesson this week that we actually taught together! We shared the time well and it was short and to the point. It's a struggle but I am going to just continue to do the best that I can do and follow the rules that I can follow and try to help her do the same. I just don't know where the line is where I just let her do her thing and when I need to say something.
1. Is New Year’s a big deal there? Do you have any plans?
I think New Year is a big deal and will be like Christmas. We have to be in early at 6 again tomorrow night so yeah... We will probably watch movies. If everyone doesn't want to watch, at least Hna M and I will! She's really awesome and I am so grateful to have her in my house! She's another one of those people who I will always be friends with!
2. How has the weather been?
Cold. It is like a roller coaster here. One day it is cold and cloudy and cold and the next day its sunny and sort of hot. It's crazy!!! I really don't like the weather at all... but I won't be here forever.
3. What was the best part of your week?
I really loved Christmas! It was neat to be able to experience it in a way that I never would have had the opportunity to do before.
4. What was the funnest/funniest thing that happened this week? So Hna C and Hna M went running one day and when they came home and Hna C was taking off her jacket I saw that she wore a trash bag underneath her jacket so that she would sweat more and it was just super funny! And I found a gum wrapper of Mom's in her coat pocket and it made me laugh.
5. What was the spiritual highlight of your week?
I really liked a quote from the Liahona (NOTE: The Liahona is a church magazine) that talked about how Christ is both the Good shephard and the Lamb of God. I never really thought about comparing both of those titles. I also thought about how great faith the prophets and people before Christ must have had. As people today we have two records of scripture. We have two evidences that Christ is and that He was born and that He preached. Before His coming the people only had the prophesy, but we have the evidence. I just think that that is amazing. If that makes any sense.
6. Were you able to teach more lessons this week? Find any new investigators?
7. How was the branch dinner Thursday night? What food did they have? What did they do at the dinner?
It was good. It started an hour late... We had rice, puree of potatoes kind of like mashed potatoes, chicken and tortillas and a veggie salad. It was actually really good, but I was also really hungry! We watched the really old Christmas movie with Kris Krinlgle and the "one foot in front of the other" song. I don't know what it is actually called because it was in Spanish.
8. How is your personal study going? What are you studying, and what stuck out to you this week?
I kept studying Doctrine and Covenants and it's just neat to read all of the prefaces to the sections because each one was different revelation but all of it is so good and applies to us today! I find a ton of references that say preach repentance unto this people so a lot of what I am finding is about missionary work.
9. What has been the strangest food you’ve eaten this week? Have you found more things you can cook in the microwave?
We had weird fried pork at a Chinese restaurant... I don't know what it was, LOL. And no, I have just been making the same kinds of things.
10. What has been the most unusual thing you’ve seen this week?
There was an animal jaw laying in the road this week... but that's about it lol
11. What have you learned about yourself this week?
I definitely have more patience than I used to...but I still have a long way to go. But I have really realized how diligent I am. Rules are black and white to me. Things are right or they are wrong. I am either following them or I am not. There is no gray area. Unfortunately, many missionaries do not see them that way.
12. In what area do you think you’ve improved this week?
Just trying to be happy in the moment. There are a lot of times where I can just be frustrated and tired and hungry. There was one day we walked for an hour and a half around the city and we got to the top of the mountain and I was just done and I looked out over the valley and realized that this is an awesome opportunity and I need to be happy for every second and grateful that I am here because one day I will wake up and be back in the states and not get to enjoy all of my adventures here.
13. Do you know that I love you SO much?
14. How many lessons did you teach this week?
We taught like 15 lessons and had 11 visits with members... but we had divisions and apparently those count twice so we add our numbers together for that day and so we really had maybe 10.
15. How do you think your relationships with Jesus Christ and with Heavenly Father have grown since you've been on your mission?
I feel like I already answered this last week. Just learning to rely on Him and not my own strength. I have always been an independent person and the kind of person that thinks I can do it alone and I really can't. I just can't do it and everyday I find new strength to do things and to be more than I am.
16. What did you do for P-Day this week?
We went to play soccer and it sucked. I hate soccer and I still refuse to play. And I wanted to just go run up and down the road but our District Leader said no. Then we went for Chinese food and now we are here!
17. Do you hear much Latin music down there?
All the time.
18. What has been the most beautiful thing you’ve seen this week?
Our Christmas tree with presents underneath.
19. Are you going to set any New Year’s Resolutions? Any you want to share? Any suggestions for us for New Year’s Resolutions we could set?
I never set New Year's resolutions. I just want to keep trying to be a better missionary than I am the day before. You guys should do Family Home Evenming, always invite the missionaries over for dinner, look for references for them, read the scriptures as a family.
20. What can we do to help support and encourage you?
21. How can we be better member missionaries?
Always look for opportunities to share the gospel and don't be shy.
22. What was your favorite scripture from the 12 Days of Christmas?
I don't remember them, to be honest. It was 12 days worth of scriptures and I can't just pull one out of the air. But I did like the ones that talked about Mary.
I love you all!
Our Christmas tree and gifts
I used the silly putty to make our own little Nativity
Christmas Eve fireworks
Hna A with the shirt I bought her for Christmas
Thanks Grandma and Papa -- I love my Mickey and Minnie and my new Minnie watch!
Hna A gave me this -- it's so cute!
Thanks for the gifts, family!
The Swansons are SO sweet! Thank you for the gifts -- I love them all!
This top from the Swansons matches the skirt Mom gave me!
I made a cover for my planner
We saw this at the top of some stairs today....
And here is a sign that tells you, in Spanish, what it is.