iFeliz Ano Nuevo!...Casi :)
Where has this year gone?! It is so weird to think that a year ago I was sitting in the mission home as a greenie excited to start real missionary work and wondering where I would be sent and who would be my companion. The 31st is also my anniversary day for entering the MTC! Wow so much has changed since then and mostly it has been me that has done the changing. I wouldn't trade the experiences I have had as a missionary for anything in the world. This year will always be one of the best years of and for my life. I am sure that there will be many great years to come, but I don't think I will have a better year for my life. I have been stretched, pulled, pushed and trained to become the person that I can become.
So Christmas in the field was different, but I loved it. So let's start on Christmas Eve. We went to Tucanos and I ate a chicken heart. If only chicken heart was the weirdest thing I ate this year. Hehe it was actually relatively normal. Then we made the mistake of going to Walmart to do our food shopping. It was a zoo! We tried to be quick, but it still took forever with the lines. You would have thought people would have been more prepared to make tamales or turkey instead of waiting until the last minute to swarm Walmart in a mad tamale-turkey frenzy! We did make it out alive and that was basically our p-day. Then for dinner we went with the Valdez family in our ward. They made so much food! But they also informed us that they didn't make very much and that we would be shunned in Mexico for eating so little. (yeah I think we were still feeling tucanos...oops meat coma!) It all tasted soooo good. I especially loved the tamales. Then for christmas morning we went over to the other sisters' apartment and we opened presents for exercise. Stretch while you reach for the next gift...hehe yeah right. It was fun. Then we got to talk to our families on skype. I was overwhelmed by all the babies! Although they all are pretty darn cute! Then we ate left over tamales for christmas day dinner and then we visited a few people and that was about it. In Mexico they celebrate christmas eve a lot more than christmas day. They wait up until midnight and open all their presents and then Christmas day is a lazy recovery sort of day. It was a really nice christmas.
So transfers are next week! I can't believe how quickly they keep flying by. My twin, Hna Bills, goes home in less than a week! Crazy! We have decided that we need to pick a day and we are going to dress like twins. Randomly we have several of the same shirts and skirts, so now we just have to decide which we want to choose. I think what's crazy about her leaving is I have always measured my mission by her mission because I met her on my very first day on the ride down to Las Cruces in the transfer van. Now that she is going home, it's one of those slight freak-out moments where you are like "wait! You're done?! That's impossible!" It's been fun getting to serve around her. We've probably spent the most time that is possible without actually being companions. What else is new? One of the Assistants to the president is going home this transfer and like i've been saying for the past 4 transfers Elder Taylor is now the new assistant. When he left Mount Franklin he was sad that he wouldn't get to speak as much spanish in his group up in santa fe and now he gets to speak no spanish at all in an english singles ward. I think I'll stick to my spanish wards and enchiladas. Yum!
So one thing I have noticed here in ABQ is that basically every single house or fence has a "Beware of Dog" sign. I think I saw more dogs in El Paso, but I have seen more signs here. Loco! Anyway, so I had a dream two nights ago and I was walking up this street and I was passing by all of the Beware of Dog signs when I came upon a different type of sign. It said "Beware of Rattle snakes" I was like that is so clever. Who needs pit bulls when you just fill the front yard will rattlesnakes. The only problem was as we were walking by the fence the rattlesnake went through the slats that a pit bull can't get through and bit me! So then I spent the rest of the dream going to the hospital and wondering how I was going to explain to president Miller that I couldn't work this week because I didn't heed the "Beware of Rattlesnake" sign good enough. Desert dreams!
We are teaching some really wonderful people right now. We have this new family that we found talking to people out on the street and what's interesting is they are only visiting their mom/gma for the holidays and are returning to Belen in a few days. The interesting part is that the spanish sisters in Belen (one who happens to be Hna Mitchell!) met this same family about a week before we did. It is a very small world sometimes. We've been having fun teaching them and the kids are the cutest things ever!
Probably one of my favorite people here is a recent convert named Soledad. She was baptized the week before I got here. They had found her 3 weeks before that at a bus stop and she basically asked the sisters when she could be baptized. Soledad is a firecracker! She is in her 70's but don't let that fool you. She says the funniest things and she is just awesome. She owns the crazy cat that growls when she is sitting on your lap, but won't move. She'll just bite you until you leave her alone, so she can go back to sleeping on your lap. Yesterday the cat was in a mad battle with my keychain and wouldn't let us leave because she had a death grip on the keys! We had a really touching lesson with Soledad yesterday when we talked about temples. She started to cry when we talked about eternal families and how she could be with her mom and dad again. The spirit was really strong and it's one of those moments in the mission when you think, "This is why we do it." We leave everything behind and come to a place where we don't know anyone often thousands of miles from home and have good days and bad days. We hit the pavement with blisters or sore rear ends (if you ride a bike) in blistering heat or freezing cold. We talk to hundreds of people and more often than not we get rejected, but we do it to help the one. We do it, to sit in a lesson and feel the spirit testify to someone that they can be with their family forever. There is nothing greater than the life of a missionary. I thank my Father in Heaven every day for this chance I have to serve him and helping him to "bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."
I hope everyone has a wonderful new year and that we all take a little time to remember all of the wonderful blessings which Heavenly Father has blessed us with this past year.