Sunday, January 4, 2015

Feliz Navidiad

 Jenson proving to his mom that he wore  his Christmas tie on the Sunday before Christmas and matching with his family

Dear All,
Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año!! So since I couldn't write last week I've got two weeks to fill you in on. And they're two weeks where a ton of stuff happened.
First off, the day after I wrote last (So Tuesday the 16th) we had our Christmas dinner with the President and all the other missionaries here. And it was super good, instead of training we just talked about some of the great missionary talks from Elder Holland and other General Authorities. It was basically a day long pump up session with food. And it was good food. Nothing Mexican, but good.
After that, we did a little sketch. Our zone put together a number where we sang hymns and read scriptures and acted out a live nativity.
Which sounds really lame but it was actually pretty cool. And that's where the Shepherd costumes come from. After that we exchanged ties and went home. Good day.
Then on Wednesday they asked us to come back and do the skit again, but this time in front of all of the stake leadership. So we did it again. And then we got more food. But let me backtrack a little bit.
Wednesday morning we were about ready to head to work when we got a call from a member. He was like "hey what time are you guys coming? My wife already has the food ready" but on our calendar we had another family scheduled. So we called the other family to see if they would be able to switch, but they had already made food too. SO we decided to make a small sacrifice and eat at both places. And they were both so good. But I wanted to die. I was fighting the urge to throw up I was so full. But it was so worth it. The Lord really does bless us for our sacrifices :) That Friday was the ward party. And let me just tell you that ward parties here are like nothing else. This one featured a karaoke machine, 6 Pinatas, a dance, TONS of food, and two missionaries with ties that play music (thanks mom). It was so much fun. And then we came home and Elder Vega said he didn't feel so well, so we planned really quickly and went to bed. And then he woke up the next morning and said he still didn't feel good, but not bad enough to stay home.
So we went to go visit the father of a member who was visiting for the holidays but had a question that the members couldn't answer so he wanted to ask us. And that was the most frustrating lesson we've had so far. The question was super super deep, so we did our best to answer it, but he still wasn't satisfied, so we talked about how there will always be mysteries of God that really we don't need to know in this life. But he still wasn't satisfied. So we just kind of ended and left, but Elder Vega was getting worse. I was watching him walk and saw that he was shaking and said that he was cold but it was rather warm, so I called it a day. I made him go home, we called the Mission Doctors, and about 10 minutes later he started throwing up. So good thing we weren't in a lesson. But yeah we didn't work on Saturday, so I watched all of the church videos we have and read about 100 pages of the Book of Mormon. So yeah.
Sunday was a good day, Elder Vega was felling alittle better, so we went to church, But then after church we ate tomales and thats basically the worst thing you can do when you're sick and so he got even worse. So we barely worked sunday or Monday either. So that kind of sucked. But he's all better now.
Wednesday this place got crazy. Here, the big day for parties is the 24th, and the 25th is "don't do anything all day" day. So people were getting ready all day. making tomales and pozoli, cleaning the house, and then as soon as it got dark, lighting off fireworks. And there is a reason that Mexican fireworks are illegal in the US. They're basically bombs. We were at a house and the son, who is about 14, showed us the firecrackers he was gonna light off. He was complaining about how small they were. These things were easily about an inch in diameter by about 4 or 5 inches long. And then he showed us how they worked. He put one under a five gallon bucket, the ones you get at home depot, and it blew the thing to pieces. It sounded like a shotgun. And he was disappointed. Meanwhile, I was super jealous. If nothing else, I'm coming back to buy fireworks.
That night we got permission to go to dinner and spend time with a family, preferably an investigator or a less active. We went with a guy who is a fairly recent convert, but is single. It was a blast. He invited another recent convert family over and we ate ribs and played musical chairs and then to cap it off had an animal noise contest. It was incredible. We of course had to leave early, and as we were walking home, about 10 police cars and firetrucks passed us, all on their way to clean up the messes that these fireworks were making.
Christmas day was pretty cool. Calling home was awesome; I miss you guys a ton but honestly that call made me want to be here more. I know I'm on the Lord's errand and he's happy that I'm here. After that we kind of hung out with the family that had the computers. One of the guys was visiting from Utah, but he used to drive trucks through Georgia so he knew exactly where we live so that was cool.
Then on Saturday we got our biggest Christmas present yet. We finally baptized someone. She is the daughter-in-law of a less active family, and it was super cool to watch her progress. The missionaries have been visiting that family and her for about 2 years now, and she has never wanted anything to do with the church. But then, on my first day here, we left her a pamphlet of the restoration. Apparently she read it later, and thought about talking to us, but decided not to. Then the Bishop invited her to go to a Family Home Evening, and he talked about how families can be together forever. Apparently that's what she needed to hear. After that she called us and asked us to teach her.
This was back in about the second week of November. So we taught her, and we set a baptismal date, but then she never showed up for church.
And we have a rule that we can't baptize someone until after 5 time attending the Church. And when we called her she didn't want us to come cause her husband wasn't home, so eventually we just stopped so we could focus on people who we thought wanted to progress. Then, on Dec 5, one day before her previously scheduled baptism, she called us and asked us if she was still getting baptized the next day or if she needed to do more. So we went and visited her, reset the date for Dec 27, and from then on it was super easy. She went to church even though her family didn't, she kept all of her commitments, she read a ton of the Book of Mormon, and then on Saturday got baptized. And it was wonderful.
Then on Sunday, she asked me if I would confirm her and give the gift of the Holy Ghost. So that was neat. I've given quite a few blessings at this point, but never in front of 100 people and without a microphone so basically shouting. I was nervous and honestly I don't remember most of what I said, but I felt good after and I think she did too. So that was the highlight of my mission so far.
Whew that was tiring to write. Hope you guys are doing well too. May this New Year be one of great successes.
Les quiero mucho,

Elder Rawlings

 Jenson and Elder Vega with a family in their Ward in Ensenada

Jenson and Elder Vega at their Baptism this past week

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