Happy New Year, y’all!
So I am just so so soooo happy with the way my mission works out, with the timing and all, it’s perfect. I left on the mission two weeks after I turned 19 so I basically couldn’t have left any sooner. I’m glad I left when I did because I didn’t want to wait AND because I will be getting home at exactly the end of 2016. Which means that I have a whole complete calendar year, 2016, to spend on the mission! I love that because I know in the future when I remember the year 2016 the only memories I will have will be from Perú 🙂
This week I have been thinking about what I want to do this year, 2016, and the New Year’s resolutions I want to set. I have been marking all the references to hearts in the Book of Mormon recently and I am really gaining a testimony that the Lord requires the hearts of the children of men and that the condition of our heart at the end of this life will save us. This year I really want to DEDICATE my HEART to the Lord and His word.
My ponderize this week to ring in the New Year and my new resolution is 1 Kings 8:61 – ‘Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.’
I also have made the resolution starting on Jan 1 to only study my scriptures in Spanish. I’ve spent the first 6 months of my mission studying in English and marking scriptures I regularly need and use in Spanish but now I know Spanish and I’m confident in my language skills and I think it’s about time I even more turn my heart and my will over to the Lord and immerse myself more in my mission language. I am excited but also nervous to start doing that this week!
So now I will talk about everything that happened this week! Well, I think in most other missions Christmastime would be an easier time to proselyte, get people to listen to our message about Jesus Christ, etc. but honestly here, this Christmas season has been the hardest time of my mission. Hard in the aspect that most of our citas have fallen, no one has been home, everyone is traveling/partying/drunk. But Christmas is still great so let me get to the good stuff!
On Thursday evening we had a zone Christmas party up in Guadalupe, we watched The Polar Express in Spanish, did a gift exchange, and ate the best meal I have eaten on the mission. It was seriously soooooo good, I was really impressed! For the gift exchange I gave Elder Cantos, an elder in my district, a Pacasmayo t-shirt (because this place is super touristy) and Elder Majia, an elder in Pueblo Nuevo, gave me a bowl because he heard I really like cereal. Jajajaja I was kinda confused at first but hey, now I see that it’s really useful cause I’ve been using it every morning at breakfast eating my cereal 🙂 PS. here in Perú they eat cereal with yogurt, not with milk, and I actually really like a whole lot better. It’s good 🙂 THEN we didn’t get back to Pacasmayo until like 10:30 (I know, super late for missionaries!) and Hermana Garcia bought some chocolate goodies on the way home and went up to our roof to ring in Christmas day! We ate chocolate and hung out on the roof until midnight and then at midnight we went down to our room and opened our presents! Hermana Garcia tells me it’s a Latino tradition to open presents at midnight on Christmas morning so that’s exactly what we did.
Christmas Eve dinner and activities
Then later on Christmas morning we had to be down in Trujillo at 9am for the mission Christmas party, but guess what?! Hermana Garcia and I missed the bus down to Trujillo that morning! So we had to catch a combi down to Trujillo and it was SUPER expensive cause we were traveling on Christmas pues, and we got to the Christmas party late but just in time for the talent show!
Our combi ride into Trujillo
So we watched the talent show, ate cake (for Jesus’ birthday, of course!) and headed back up to Pacasmayo where we finally got to SKYPE OUR FAMILIES! It was super great to talk to my parents and little sister and grandparents, to see that they’re all doing well! I miss them but honestly I don’t miss them a whole lot because I know that this is exactly where I am needed right now 🙂 I’ll see them again soon enough. Then Christmas was also the birthday of the elders’ pension so we went over to the elders’ pension after skyping our families to celebrate her birthday 🙂
Birthday party at the elders’ pensionista
It was a good few days but now it’s back to real missionary life! I am super excited to ring in the New Year and excited to see alllllll that will happen in 2016 🙂 What a great year it will be!
Love from Pacasmayo,
It’s summertime and BEAUTIFUL in Pacasmayo!
A few more pictures of our Christmas program and practices