This week was wonderful, busy, and a little stressful to be honest. Elder Hercules and I are doing great together; every day, we get to know each other even better. We are really excited for the opportunities that we have to serve during this Christmas Season here at the MTC. A word our district has started using every now and then, that I find hilarious, is the word "amigo-ship." We never seem to remember the word for friendship in Spanish, so that word always slips. In the MTC, every week we have a number of different goals (from doing teaching workshops with teachers, to teaching other missionaries, to number of words in english, etc.) and one of those is contacts. We would contact other missionaries and pretend like they were investigators. Well, we changed it, because we felt it wasn't very "real," and now we contact other missionaries as missionaries and share thoughts that truly apply to them in Spanish. It has brought a wonderful Spirit into our days, often looking to lift up another missionary and put a "sonrisa" on his face.
This past week has been primarily training for and then taking over and assuming the responsibilities of being Zone Leaders. The days now go twice as fast, because there is twice as much to do. But what a blessing it is to serve with our Zone and especially our Branch Presidency! They are amazing people, and I feel I have so much to learn from our Branch Presidency. We got 2 new districts today, one with intermediate Spanish missionaries and the other with advanced (so mainly people from Mexico or just fluent people), and we have loved training and getting to know them. One of our primary resonsibilities now is to train all the new missionaries about everything relating to missionary work in the MTC. It is so funny to see those "deer-in-the-headlights" looks of the missionaries faces, that we had just a few weeks ago, and then try to help them feel comfortable and excited. We have been sitting at meals often with the advanced districts for practice with the language, and it is so fun! I love trying to talk about anything in Spanish, but it is kind of difficult with things not relating to the Gospel--since we have been focusing on that vocabulary. The Elders who are from Mexico kept on reminding how dangerous it is down there, and giving me tips to stay alive and not to get all my money stolen "when" I get robbed. I am sure grateful that God will be looking out for me as a missionary, because even so it is sometimes a little nerveracking with those kind of stories. But really, I'm not worried. I'm stoked, actually. I am so pumped for Mexico! Oh and the last group of Mexican missionaries got their visas on time, so there is hope for that!
We had a missionary in our Zone go home this morning. He was homesick, and was just ready to be out of here. It was really sad to see; we talked with him, testified with him, and tried to invite him to ask God if he should stay, but he didn't want to act on any of that. But I have great hopes that he will make it out in a few months! In our Zone, there are around 7-9 districts (it changes every week), and it is so neat to work with the District Leaders and come up with ways we can serve each other during this Christmas time! There have already been many acts of service, bringing in a sweet spirit. I think what I like least is now every night we walk the residence halls and help encourage and tell Elders to get into their rooms by 10:15 and with their lights off at 10:30. However, it has been neat to see how most Elders are willing to try for exact obedience in all things, even the little things.
Well not much else to report. I am so happy to be here. And I am so grateful and thrilled to be here in the best time of year! We have a number of Christmas devotionals coming up, and I am sure we will have inspiring speakers--whoever they may be! I am grateful for my family during this time of year. Every now and then, Christmas traditions get brought up, and I am reminded of how blessed I am to be in the most perfect family for me in the world. I miss you, fam, but don't worry I'm not homesick! :)
I'm looking forward to the week I can type "I GOT MY VISA"--and hoping that that will be a future message to you all.
I wish all of you, again, a Merry Christmas during this special time of year. I also want to say that although I don't know every detail about Christ's live, although I don't know every minute of Christ's life, I know He lives. I know he is our dear redeemer. His sacrifice, coupled with His love, is infinite, and I know that His arms are outstretched to all of us. This has been a wonderful time to reflect on the blessings in my life; they are endless. I love the phrase, "all things testify of Him." How true that is.