Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Feliz Navidad!

It's hard to believe that we are already to Christmas. Honestly it feels like we are trying to have Christmas in August...

All week I think of things I want to tell you, but by the time I sit down to the computer I can't remember what exactly it was...

This week we had a Cena NavideƱa (the ward Christmas party), That was an adventure! At the beginning they were blasting, as best as I could tell, Latino Christmas music and everyone was dancing. My companion was having a hard time sitting still. She kept saying in 4 months I can dance :) The rest of the time was a talent show. My companion signed us and the Elders in the ward up to sing. When she started talking fast to the Relief Society President I knew we made it on the list... We sang a poor rendition of Silent Night, but that's OK. Seeing the Elder's faces when they realized that they couldn't back out was priceless... The rest of the ward did various acts. The Primary sang and had a little play that was very cute. They have just enough Primary kids to hold up the letters to spell Feliz Navidad. The Young Women danced, and so did another family. They had color coordinated outfits even. 

The ward here is small. Our greatest challenge is getting the members excited about missionary work, but they are great people. We have a lot of investigators that love to have us come sing a hymn and pray for them. They'll listen to our message and ask questions, and a good portion will read the pamphlets and Book of Mormon, but they won't come to church. And they have to come to church to progress. We will keep inviting and praying. 

Where we are, there are actually a number of people who speak a decent amount of English. If they are Latino chances are good they only speak Spanish, but they are usually quick to tell me that they have a relative who speaks really good English. If they are of any other race, chances are really good that they speak English. They would totally understand if I spoke to them in English, but it's not as likely that I would understand them... Often they speak a very fast pigeon English with Spanish words or words from other tribal languages mixed in. One man we are teaching tells us that he is from India. He is African and does speak English more like you would if you learned it in India. I think my companion doubts his story, but I think I am missing too many pieces to make a fair judgement. He tells us all the time about how he is learning Spanish and that it is a crazy language. He always corrects my companion's Spanish too. He is ''super pilas'' or really smart, and he seems pretty interested. He couldn't make it to church this week, but I sure hope he comes next week. 

Another guy we are teaching is from the United States. He's only been here for  about 5 or so years and he owns a salsa making business. In the US he was an ice skating instructor. He is an interesting character and our visits totally consisted of him saying something in Spanish and then translating it into English and vice versa. We are going to try to get him an English copy of the Book of Mormon. 

Whenever we go anywhere there are always people who want to practice their English. They are not afraid to try, and I love that. That's something I need to learn. I have been reading a lot in my personal study in the New Testament when the Savior is asking his disciples (and us) to follow him. I've really been thinking about the ''he who saves his life shall loose it. and whoso shall lose his life for my sake shall find it'' (that's roughly what it says, I don't have my English scriptures on me...) Hna. Pratt told us before we left the CCM that this included leaving behind our old life before we came on our mission. I am beginning to realize how important it is to leave behind everything that would stand in the way of me becoming the missionary Heavenly Father wants and needs me to be. This means leaving behind my fears and shyness and step out of my comfort zone. It is hard. But my goal for this week is to just try. It is important to have faith and trust in the promised blessings that come from exercising your faith. 

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad and all! 
Hna. Thacker

This is the view from our street looking up toward the mountain.
Most of our area, as far as I can tell, actually lies in the opposite direction.

This is in the house of the Hermana who cooks us lunch every day.  On the left is me and my companion.
On the right, the American is the District Leader, and his companion is from Guatemala--same as my companion.

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