From the Parent of a Missionary
I can’t believe Christmas is so close already. Here in Guatemala, the spirit of Christ fills the air as people decorate and try to search out Christ in their lives. I love how the people here are so humble that they can recognize Christ so much more in their life (even if that means that they’re really stubborn about changing their religion!)
I had a pretty enjoyable week. We had a zone P-day on Monday, which involved food catered by a nearby Mexican restaurant and a LOT of soccer. I have learned to play soccer (it’s really all futsal here, because we play on cement basketball courts) a lot more, out of necessity. I don’t think people here know how to play anything else. So I’m coming along, bit by bit!
Tuesday was my missionary Christmas devotional, which involved 3 of the nearby zones and was held in the central chapel. We watched a little movie about the life of Christ and had a decent lunch. It was fun to meet some more missionaries and hear some spiritual messages from Pres. Stay. He said a phrase that I absolutely loved: “If it weren’t for Calvary, we wouldn’t celebrate Bethlehem.” Whew! Profound.
I figured it would be fun to tell what I have been doing on these first five days of Christmas, so here it is:
On my first day of Christmas, we decided to visit a less active family that had been mentioned to us but we had never been able to find at home because of how far away they live and the work schedule that they have. We knocked the door and found the entire family home, because they had just returned from the hospital after the birth of a new baby. The Lord put us in the right place and the right time to be able to help that family and let them know that the Church is there for them.
On my second day of Christmas, we had an amazing lesson with the sister that we reactivated, Hermana Vilma. We have been encouraging her to get a temple recommend and do family history work, but for some reason she was being all superstitious about messing with her ancestors. We tried to teach her about the beauty of eternal marriage and temple work, but she just wasn’t accepting it. At one point in the lesson she was acting really resistant, and I knew that the Spirit wasn’t there with us. I said a silent prayer to invite the Spirit, and felt the prompting to just bear my testimony about the temple. I shared with her how much I love the temple and the beautiful experiences I have had there. Her heart was softened and by the end of the lesson she was convinced of how amazing the idea of being able to help our dead loved ones, and she had an interview with the bishop on Sunday to get a temple recommend.
On my third day of Christmas, we went to teach a 13 year old boy we have been teaching, Selvin. We have had a lot of trouble finding his parents and getting their permission to let him go to church, because it seems like he wants to. To give him a bit of extra motivation, we brought our little portable DVD and watched the video of the First Vision. I must say, I love that video, because it invited the spirit so strongly and explained the story of Joseph Smith in a way that just words can never do. Selvin finally asked his mom for permission to go to Church and he came with us this Sunday, and ended up really enjoying young mens.
On my fourth day of Christmas, we got invited to eat with one of the richest families in the ward, the Lopez family. They are actually some of the oldest members in all of Guatemala. Sister Lopez´s family was the first family that the first missionaries in Guatemala contacted! They have done a lot for the church here, and they did a whole lot for me on Sunday! We had a delicious lunch that involved some amazing rice and a delicious jello cake.
On my fifth day of Christmas, I woke up early, cooked some refried beans for breakfast, and came to this chapel to write to all of you guys!
So anyways, that’s a bit about my week. I hope you are all having an amazing time in Christmas vacation (did that start already?) and that you can remember Christ amidst all of the celebrations. My testimony and my relationship with Him as my Savior continues to grow, and my love for him and for others has grown around three sizes, just like the Grinch! I actually used the Grinch in a spiritual message this week. The Grinch had a change of heart because he saw the example and the happiness of others, despite the poorness of their circumstances. They didn’t celebrate Christmas for the presents, but out of love. Look for ways to serve and be an example this year, and maybe you can help somebody else be happy too!
Lots of love,
P.S. We find out if we have changes tomorrow! This may be my last email from El Pajon. Wish me luck!