Hope all is cold and Christmasy back in the states and that everyone is enjoying the Spirit of Christ that is so strong this time of year.
The Christmas Devotional last night was really awesome and I loved it. We ended up bringing 7 investigators to the devotional, two of them being Maynor and Karina who we have been trying REALLY hard to get to come to church. So that was awesome. Of course they left after President Uchtdorf's talk, but they enjoyed it a lot and we had a lot of support from the members who greeted them and sat with them and were really nice. In the end they said that they really liked how everyone was so friendly and how everyone just seemed to know each other. We still haven't taught them in like 3 weeks, but hey, they're making progress. Ana, who is another investigator that we have right ow who is reading right now in ETHER (yeah, she's pretty pilas) she said "oh yeah, I'm just reading right now about the Tower of Babel and the Jaredites and it's pretty interesting.) She's kind of a history/art/theatre lover so now she just has to understand the importance and the significance of The Book of Mormon. But she and her friend came to the devotional and said they liked it. We also had Danilo and Reina as usual and they enjoyed it as well.
Haha you guys just know me too well because as soon as Brother Okabe came up on the screen I turned to Reina who was sitting next to me and said "I know him! He used to be in my ward!" Also as we waited for the broadcast to start they were playing clips of the MoTab choir, and Julie came on the screen a couple times. I kept saying to everyone "That's my aunt!" And they were all surprised and thought it was cool haha. I really loved President Eyring's talk at the end about the patterns related with Christ's brith- the light that came into the world and how God declared a lot of things by angels-and how God has done the exact same thing with the restoration of His true church. I always love relating Christmas and the restoration because the restoration of the gospel is one of the greatest blessings we could ever have living in these days. I also loved President Monson's talk because I knew exactly the stories he would talk about haha. I love that man. It was not quite as good hearing the devotional in Spanish because it's not the same as hearing their actual voices, but it was still good.
This week we started going to a gym about 5 minutes away running distance. It costs Q100 monthly which is roughly 12 bucks. It's not too big but they have good machines and a guy who basically is like a personal trainer for us. We went Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday and we are feeling healthy and fit. (and Elder Contreras also wants to go, so it's not just me.) I bought protein that I'm going to start drinking in the mornings as well. So hopefully by the time I leave Salama I can at least get into the habit of doing a good workout every morning. It does relieve a lot of stress so that's nice.
Getting down to the Cap this morning was brutal. We woke up at 3 in the morning left around 3:45 and got to the bus stop just in time for the bus to drive by PACKED with people. (Here, if there aren't any more seats, people just crowd themselves into the aisles and stand..) So we waited for the next bus at 4:30. It came and about 30 people just crowded into the aisles, so we had to make the whole trip standing up. And not just standing up - standing up with your feet in the exact same spot because there were so many people we couldn't even move at all. We left at 4:30 and I finally got a seat at 8. (or course, like 2 minutes before we came to the stop.) So that was pretty lame and I will most likely be very tired this week. But after we got here we went to the assistants house and got ready a little bit and went to go play soccer. We played with about 10 other elders on a court that's inside a church building here. That was pretty fun, but probably wont help tonight with me being so tired haha.
Alright, on to some personal comments:
Dad- hey dad thanks for the email. That story is great. I first read it when it came out in the Liahona in October for the special Book of Mormon edition. It's a really cool story and we've used it already once with a less active sister in our branch who told us she didn't know how to read. We promised her that the Lord would bless and help her if she kept trying to read The Book of Mormon. Yeah, the people here are a lot of times more receptive because of the season, but at the same time the people here are also a lot more drunk because of the season. Here, the parties start since december 1st haha. December is pretty much a whole month of partying here. But we've had success talking about the prophecies of Christ's birth in Helaman and 3rd Nephi with some people. I love the story in 3rd Nephi chapter one. Oh and by the way, the cultural event isn't until this Saturday because the dedication of the temple is this Sunday. So maybe you'll be able to find it on the computer or BYUtv. I'm sure there's a way to see it. That's cool Grandma will be there for Christmas which means I'll actually get to talk to her! I hope Michelle comes too so I can talk to her more too! I still need to write her a letter. Anyways, thanks for all you do for me. Love you dad!
Mom- hey mom! Thanks for the email. Sounds like you are just as busy as ever with all the stuff you're doing to have a nice, spiritual Christmas. I am glad you guys are still going to do the 12 Days of Christmas. It's one of my favorite things to do for Christmas and one of the traditions that I hope to pass on with my family someday. It's really true though, that the most important thing about Christmas is the Spirit of Christ that makes us feel happier and makes us feel like being better people. (although the chocolate calanders are always a good part of Christmas too haha) Thanks for sending my christmas package. It will most likely get to me by Christmas. Next Monday, President and the assistants are coming to Salama to do our Christmas conference and district meetings so I might even get it then. And don't worry about the wrapping and the cute cards. I kept all of the notes from last year so I will always have a memory of them :) Thanks for being so caring and concerned for all of the other missionaries here mom, it's really great of you. You're the best! Can't wait to talk to you in a few weeks!
Jack- hey bud! I was thinking about you the other day because we started teaching a new family that has a 12 year old son and I said "hey that's cool that's just like my little brother!" Then all of the sudden I realized that you are OLD! You are about to turn 13 next month! It was a really weird thought that literally made me say out loud (in English) "Jack is going to be 13!" Everyone just looked at me weird haha. But how are you lately? What do you want for Christmas? Any good stories to tell from school? Tell me about any cool new games that come out so we can plan on playing them together with Matt when I get back. Hope school is going well and that you are excited for the holidays. I love you lots bro and I miss you. Write soon!
Kinzie- HI! How are you sissy? I hope you are behaving youself! =P How's school going? Any more ridiculous changes with the choir? So what's the deal with you changing to BVHS? Are you going to end up doing it soon or waiting until next year? You're getting old too! You are already 15 and soon you'll be 16! It's just weird to think about. I hear you're quite the pianist now! That's not surprising though because you have always been really talented with music. I still can't hardly play anything at all, but I'm learning how to play hymns a little bit when I have free time in the church. I know how to play "Jesus the Very Thought of Thee" and I still remember how to play "Gracie's Theme". Other than that, you'll just have to teach me when I get back. Love you and miss you tons! Talk to you soon!
Alrighty guys, my times up. Thanks for your emails and for all of your prayers in my behalf. I love you all tons and I'm grateful for you all. Talk to you in a few weeks!