Hi everyone and Merry Christmas!! Emma was sick last week, and oh so casually mentioned for the first time the BLACK MOLD that has been all over her walls and ceiling for THE LAST FOUR MONTHS may have been making her sick, haha so the first part of the letter is her trying to call off the dogs since I was not very happy to hear that she's been breathing in mold for the last four months! haha :)
My sweet, sweet, familia y amigos,
Thanks again for all your support, it means so much to us.
My sweet, sweet, familia y amigos,
First of ALL, Momma, I wasn't sure if it was a big deal, I thought maybe it was just dirty and humid, I wasn't sure if it was mold! It's accumulating more for sure, but we've been only studying and keeping our things in that room and sleeping upstairs, where it is much better. I think I got sick from it, but I slept upstairs the whole week and have been totally fine. If I just keep all my food in the fridge, nothing happens to it! I didn't want to bug anyone about it, because a lot of the Ward members know what the room is like and didn't seem all that worried. But yeah, I only have FOUR MORE WEEKS in Lomas Verdes, and I only need to sleep upstairs and all will be well! They asked to talked to me when they called, and I told them that the walls and ceilings are black, but we've moved upstairs so they dropped it. Anywho, I know I have only four more weeks here because, this morning, Hermana Mercado and I went with President Whitehead to the MTC for Hermana Mercado to visit her brother who just entered! President is the best, seriously. Afterward, he took us to McDonald's, so that was a fun Little piece of home! He mentioned more than once that he doesn't know yet where I'll be going, but I'll definitely be leaving, and Hermana Mercado will be staying in LV to train a newbie. I've gotta start writing some good-bye notes to my familia here in Lomas Verdes! I've definitely built myself a Little family here, and it'll be hard to leave that behind. So many wonderful, wonderful people I admire so much. Jose and Maria gave us new planners and cute scarves for Christmas when we went to visit them to review the Priesthood with Jose. They are truly the best, they want us to be with them on Christmas! Mario got confirmed yesterday, he's ready for a calling. He told us that he watched us pass every day for a month in Santa Cruz, and always felt like he should talk to us. He was familiar with the church, but not familiar enough to recognize us as missionaries. Finally, he called us over and found out what we stood for, and came to church a few hours later. He's so excited to continue to grow in his knowledge of the Gospel. I'm not sure if I've mentioned Carolina...I believe I have...but she has a baptismal date for the second week of January, and she absolutely loves coming to church. Jessica continues to amaze me. She's an active, active believer. She's willing to answer questions, share her testimony, in any given moment. She wants so bad for her dad to join, and she's working to get him to have family home evenings with her and her brother. She gave me a letter of thanks yesterday that was incredibly sweet. Of course, I don't deserve any of the thanks, but it reminded me that we do play a part in changing peoples' lives, and THAT is the purpose of my daily work. Luz is a Little hard right now, because she depends on the family she lives with to get to church, and they are BUSY. We're definitely working on it, we're heading out to visit her when the clock strikes 6. It's hard because she doesn't live in our área, and it's always a big chunk of our night to get over there.
Enrique. Enrique, Enrique, Enrique. I'm not sure if I ever told you all about Dominica, but we had to drop her as an investigator, at least for a bit. Our lessons with her are always charged with the Spirit - she has a close relationship with God, and wants so badly to do what's right. She's scared to get baptized. She's scared of her parents, she's scared that maybe organized religión is wrong altogether. I think she's scared her relationship with God will somehow change, or be less personal, if she joins the church. We have taught and taught and cried and testified and she has felt it - but she just won't accept right now. We're going to pick back up with her in a bit. Dropping an investigator is one of the saddest things in the world. Back to Enrique - we had to drop him as well. He has a problem with every person in the church. He is easily offended, and didn' t like the curious questions that Jose and Maria asked him or the way that another recent convert told him that her life was completely different since she got baptized, thinking she was being dramatic. After a few tough lessons, he understood baptism and admitted he wanted it and knew it was necessary. Then, the problem became that he didn't want to lose his Catholic girlfriend and "I haven't met even one person I like in this Ward." He won't come, he just can't understand that we are imperfect people that are lucky enough to have a knowledge of the truth - we attend church to worship, remember, learn, and progress. He really, really wants to continue meeting with us, and I hope to meet with him again before I leave Lomas Verdes. Connie is changing - the doctor thought she had cáncer for awhile, and even though she's since been told that she doesn't, she's changing because of this experience. She came to church yesterday. She's admitted that she does want to be baptized, which is HUGE - before, she never even let us get close to the subject - but she feels that she can't do it at this point in her life, in opposition with her husband and tied down with a lot of other stressful things. We're focusing on her, though, and I'm so happy she's starting to open up more than just her home and her bag of cookies for us. Another pretty prominent investigator right now is named Ruben, I contacted him in the Street, and he told us that his grandma is Mormon. Our first meeting, he was super interested in El Libro de Mormon, and was thrilled when I pulled one out for him to have. He's a disciplined guy, a very complex guy, 25 years old. Five months ago, he quit tobacco, marijuana, and alcohol. He has a true desire to change, and he's been looking for that one thing to guide his life. I'm so excited to keep on teaching him.
This whole month, we have shared the "He is the Gift" cards with every single Street contact, investigator, and member we have met with. On Wednesday, after we talk with our families (fam - I'll be calling dad's account sometime in between 11:00 and 1:30, most likely 12) and eat our mid-day comida, we will set out to share the last of the 500 cards Hermana Mercado and I were given. 3:00-9:00 on Christmas Day, we will work as full-time missionaries, representing Jesús Christ as we go about sharing the good tidings of great joy, that:
There lived a man named Jesús. He was born quietly in a stable to his mother, Mary. Everywhere he went, in everything he did, he brought a light to those around him. He enlightened their minds with his simple but profound words, He lifted the flap of the tent of the leper, letting in the light and teaching his beloved brother to walk in it. People knew He was not an ordinary man. For this, He was killed. For fear, He was killed. But, the King of all the Earth knew this would happen. And He knew why. He accepted it long before any of us were born. Because, through His example we would learn what to strive for in life, and through His death we would receive salvation according to the desires of our hearts. He is my "light which shineth in darkness," and I love Him. He loves me. Merry, Merry Christmas, and Feliz Navidad, to all of my wonderful family and friends, wherever you may be. Les amo muchísimo, mas que puedo expresar. Les doy gracias por su apoyo, por sus palabras que he recibido cada día de este mes. Love you, love you, love you.
Beeeeg Keeeees Leeeeetle Keeeees,
|The cutest scarf they gave her|