Monday, December 26, 2016

Week 76 Move over Santa, the missionaries are coming to town!

Hey friends and family!

Merry Christmas!!! Feliz Navidad!! I got a "white Christmas" after all! I hope you all had an amazing Christmas! It was a little bit of a sad Christmas but a Christmas to remember. My last Pday was fun. We went to Cotacachi and played volleyball in the house of some Texans who are living here. 

We gave my last training and talked about how we need to put goals that are realistic. It went fairly well. At least one of the hermanas said thank you for the training. We played a game afterwards in English where some of the companions were blindfolded and the others had to give directions in English. Hna. del Rosario made me trip a few times. We took some groceries to Jenny because she did not have anything in her house. She was crying with joy to see them. Later, we visited Andres, our other investigator with a baptismal date. He loved going to church and is so excited to go on Sunday again. Richard is super excited for his baptism. 
We visited Rosa and I know I say this everytime but I love her so much. She is a super funny old lady. Andres was eagerly waiting for us outside his house. He keeps talking about how he loves how he feels now. We gave him his own Book of Mormon and his eyes shone so bright and he promised that he will read every day. It has been super cold here in San Pablo lately and I am dying of cold. We visited Gabriela and we did not want to leave because it was so cold. She just laughed at us. 
So last week, we did divisions with the hermanas from RumiƱahui. Today, we got to do divisions with them again. Kathy and I went and visited some recent converts. Later, we met up with Hna. del Rosario and Tania to go celebrate with Jenny for her birthday. I made banana bread and we had fun for a little. We divided again and talked with the ward mission leader to get the baptismal clothing. We met up with the hermanas again and swapped back. Hna. del Rosario and I went to visit a recent convert who was sad to hear that I am going home. She kept saying that she was going to miss her "chuspicita" (fly in Kechwa). It was cute to listen to her pray about how much that she would miss me. 
No one was home!! We looked everywhere but everyone had Christmas programs in the elementary and high schools. We ended up going to Otavalo to make sure everything was ready to go in the chapel for the baptisms. We ate lunch with Kathhy and Tania then headed to watched the peeps in the church. Of course, everytime that there is a baptism, there are always problems. Richard got there super late. He has oxygen and part of his oxygen difuser broke and they tried to fix it with hot glue. He made it and Francisco, his brother (a recent convert), baptized him and Jenny. Even though Francisco was nervous, it was still an amazing experience to listen to the testimonies of Jenny and Richard afterwards. Jenny talked about how she was converted for the BOM. Richard talked about how he feels so very different now. I am so grateful that I was able to be part of both their baptisms. Afterwards, we went to the Fam. Antamba and helped put together goody bags.

Saturday - Christmas Eve!
This was another crazy day. We chatted with Jenny and she said that she was so excited and felt so much better. She has been through so much and I am so proud to see how far she has come. We went up to eat lunch with Digna. She finally got her revenge (after waiting 3 months) to smash my face in a cake. It was pretty funny but the cake never came off! We chatted with Fam. Pachito and talked about the traditions of members of our church. We visited Andres and read a little bit in the BOM with him. We chatted with the Fam. Antamba. For our Christmas eve, I made 2 batches of brownies, a batch of banana bread, caramel popcorn, and mash potatoes. Hna. del Rosario made the chicken, washed her clothes, and cleaned the floor. I wanted to go to bed but celebrated Christmas, Peruvian style. We had our table set and everything. I went to take a nap then we ate at midnight. I was dying but Hna. del Rosario wanted to celebrate Christmas her way, so we did it. It was fun. We exchanged gifts. I gave Hna. del Rosario finger nail polish, my favorite picture of Christ, makeup, and a bag. She gave me chocolate and a sweater. It was hard to sleep because behind our house there was a wedding going on. Here, the weddings are insane and go until 5 in the morning... 

Sunday - Christmas day!
Today was a day that I did not want to come. We went and ate breakfast with some hermanas from our district. It was so much fun. During church, I had to give another final testimony. I could not stop laughing. It is really weird because before, I was crying all the time. Now, I am fine. They gave us a bag of cookies and candy. We ate lunch with Klever and Isaura. Later in the afternoon, I had to have an extremely tearful goodbye with Jenny. She was so upset that I was going but something she said (and I have heard it before along with many other missionaries) that we were angels in her life when she really needed us most. That is something that every single one of us can hear if we stop thinking about ourselves and go help someone. I really am so grateful for having the opportunity to have met Jenny because I learned a lot about how the simple acts of Christ-like love can really make a difference. Sometimes, we cannot do a lot of things or we do not have the resources. One thing that we can always do is give someone a little bit of our time, a hug, an encouraging scripture, or listening ear. It is the simple things that make the biggest differences. We went over and spent Christmas with Fam. Antamba and was seriously the funniest Christmas ever. We go to talk to our families and just like Mother's day, we had to skype on a phone. Thankfully, Francisco was kind enough to let us borrow his phone. While talking to my family, everyone wanted to see what snow looked like, so I had my family take the computer outside to show them the snow. It was so funny because everyone got so excited. We made pizza from scratch and it (thankfully) turned out awesome! We took goofy pictures and then had another tearful goodbye. Hna. del Rosario and I got home and I finished my packing.
This is my last letter. A few people came to the terminal to say goodbye. I traveled with two other hermanas that were finishing the mission too. I am now heading to Quito, where I am going to visit some of my converts. Tuesday, I have my last trainings, an afternoon in a huge museum of Quito, and dinner with Pres. and Hna. Murphy. Wednesday, I will be on my way home. I know this gospel is true and amazing. It changes lives. I have been changed. I love my mission and the opportunity that Heavenly Father has given me to be here in Ecuador. 

Until next time,
The Strawberry Blonde Hermana

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