Hola!! Como le fue la Navidad por todos de ustedes? Me encanta la Navidad!
Where to begin...
Well, we had another Christmas party! It was on Christmas Eve and this time it was with our zone. It was HEAPS of fun - we had a testimony meeting and then a white elephant gift exchange. Elder Axxx's was probably the funniest - he gave a stuffed animal dog and two pictures of himself printed up as a Christmas card from Walgreens or somewhere and the frame had scooby doo on it. He's apparently a big Scooby Doo fan. The hot items were all healthy things - like a jumprope, ankle weights, and the like. Some of the trading got pretty heated, but we managed to all end up fairly happy with what we got. I got a Haunakka cup that lights up and a granola bar, candy cane, box of raisins, hot cocoa packet (single serving) and a Christmas ornament of a Boston Terrier...it was a little random, but fun :)
So, a cultural sidenote about the way that Hispanic people celebrate Christmas: They celebrate the holiday on the 24th - Noche de buena. They stay up till midnight, open presents, and then dance and talk and eat until the wee hours of the morning. It's kinda crazy! I was sad that we received strict instruction to still be home by 9:00...we even thought about celebrating Hispanic style by opening our gifts the night before, but decided we were pretty stinkin' tired...so we opened our Pajamas (well, Hermana Hales opened hers before I even got here because her mom wanted her to have her feety pajamas before it got cold) and then went to bed. You might say it wasn't very eventful, but we were pretty well-rested the next day. A lot of the families told us before Sunday that they wouldn't be coming to church because they were going to be sleeping and recovering from the previous night's festivities.
So at Church on Sunday, we started the meeting five minutes late (9:05) with about 10 or 15 people in the chapel. Thankfully we had a lot of people show up late and we pretty much filled the benches. It was a blast after sacrament meeting. We just had one hour, so after sacrament everyone was fixin to go home and everyone knows everyone, pretty much, and they were all full of Christmas Spirit so everyone hugs and says "Feliz Navidad!" and we got a little loaf of zuchinni bread and got to introduce our investigator, Dxxxxx, to a bunch of people. It was super awesome! I was so excited that she made it to sacrament meeting this time! The last two weeks she hasn't been getting there until Sunday School or Relief Society. Granted, she was still 15 minutes late, but that's only because we woke her up when we called at 8:40 :)
I was worried about how I might feel on Christmas. I figured it would be super forelorn and awful without my family. While it was definitely a little sad, I really loved getting to skype and see everyone...and then I was totally fine! We had a great Christmas! We had a Christmas Dinner with Hermana Cxxxx Cxxx - her family is super AWESOME! She has 4 kids. I haven't met the oldest brother, but Mxxxx, Jxxxxxx, and Jxxxx are hilarious and it was super fun to be around them on Christmas - we got the traditional tamale but we also got a typical Salvadoranian dish called "Pan con pollo." It's just a sandwich, but it's got this super delicious sauce - I don't know what's in it. So it's toasted bread, chicken, sliced boiled eggs, tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers, coleslaw and that sauce stuff. Mmmm! Delish!
The last week was awesome! We totally had a "mini-missionary" show up on Tuesday night. Nobody informed us until Tuesday morning when we got a call from President Evans. So, she came and lived the life of a missionary for 3 days and it was a total blast! We got along SUPER well! Hermana Bxxxx is from Rhode Island and is going to school at BYU to get a degree in Geneology studies or something like that. She's super chill and we had a lot of fun taking her tracting and all that good missionary stuff. Since she was only here for a few days, I got Hermana Hales to let us splurge and go out for pizza since we discovered a mutual love for all things flat, round, doughy, saucy, and cheesy :)
Well, this ends the kind of random account of my past week. One last thing in closing...we went around delivering Christmas gifts to our investigators and some of the less-active members. We gave them a "Living Christ" and just a written note since we really can't afford to get them all fancy, expensive things. Taking a chance to study The Living Christ was really awesome for me! I haven't read it in a while and it was really nice to have a good reminder of just how vital the role of Jesus Christ is in our lives. I KNOW my Savior lives and I'm SO incredibly grateful for his sacrifice so that I can have Eternal Life.
LOVE YOU!!!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!