The photo is of a small part of Xochimilco
Hola! This week has been good. I will try once again to give details. OK...well in the mornings Elder Sanchez and I continue running and doing exercise outside...sometimes we run to the church building and play futbol on their field, and then we eat a little breakfast. It is so hot here, even at like 8 in the morning...so we are always drinking waters like a camel in a sauna. I love my three study hours...it is like a gift from God: 3 hours to study with no interruptions. It could be the only time in my life with that sweet deal. Our mission president has advised us in our personal study of the scriptures to divide it into three parts of 20 minutes. 1st- read and study the Book of Mormón, 2nd- study the doctrine that we teach people (using the Book of Mormon, Bible, Preach my Gospel, and other books), and 3rd- to study 1 of 8 topics that are part of the simplified curriculum for missionary work. In our companionship study, we do a number of things that I won´t list here, but also we practice for what we are going to teach people in the day. One time this week, we practiced contacting people, but it didn´t work because we ended up laughing a bunch. In the night, we plan the next day, fill out paperwork, write in our journal, and if there is time (rarely, but every once in a while) I hop into our hammock and enjoy that comfort. I love hammocks...and I must confess that one night I accidentally fell asleep in the hammock all night.
The work is going well. The Ward is brightening up, giving us people (family members or friends) to teach, and we are planning a number of activities. We are pending on our Open House activity, but next week we will do a "tarde de reactivación". This idea came to me as i thought about how in the states, we often bake cookies and take them to people, so we are going to talk to the sisters in Relief Society to make tomales or whatever, and then as a ward in divided groups we will take them to less actives and investigators to tell them hi, merry christmas, and we hope to see them strong in church. So we will see how that goes. We hope to see Jorge Osorio, piano player and brother of a member in the ward, get baptized on Christmas eve.
Also, we had the Christmas devotional. That was so good. On our way there, we went with a family who owns a Combe (a huge van for public transport)...and we went to pick up some investigators. There were four kids noisier that an elephant in a firestorm right next to me, however, I still managed to feel very uplifted by the Christmas message. The poor mom looked like she wanted to throw the towel in and give up at the end of that devotional.
Margarita is a woman who got baptized when she was a child, and inactivated the same year. Now, 30 years later, her son Michell just got baptized a month ago with Elder Sanchez. Her son is a handful, and pretty funny. She had attended a christian church for years beforehand, and yesterday at church shared how she feels something special...and familiar to her that draws her to come to church with us. It is a wonderful thing seeing the conversion process take form in many different people.
Sometimes I just get so excited I think I weird my companion out. Other times, I am more calm. However, its all good, and we get along well and are trying to improve. I have realized in the mission that my Christlike attribute that I lack the most of is patience. I used to joke with my companions that I would try to develop patience, but I don´t have time. Haha. However, I am trying to develop that with Elder Sanchez.
It is an interesting quest, as a missionary, to try and become the best missionary...but still be your self. I will always remember the phrase my mom always says, "Be your best self", and how true it is! God doesn´t want me to be someone else, but He wants me to be the best me, finding a balance and funneling my "best me" to being the best missionary I can. Sometimes, I have found it difficult to remember that. Before the mission, I felt happy soo often so easily. Now, I sometimes have to work hard to be happy, and to remember who I am. But ya, I´m going to cut these abstract conclusions and finish my letter.
To finish, I want to testify of the life of Jesus Christ. It is December, and almost Christmas, and we get to remember His life in so many aspects. His love; His sacrifice. And what all of that means to us now. Honestly, I believe that He came to this world, was our Savior, and in that made possible eternal life. In the Christmas Devotional, they mentioned eternal life a number of times. It is true, through Christ we can obtain that.
Ánimo de Tapachula, Chiapas,