Hey diddle ho-diddliy! Goodness sakes, is it Monday already? Well cool beans, I get to talk to yálls t´day! Oh man, where to start? Probably with the Skype. Here´s the news: Like, none of the members ever Skype or don’t have web cams or something. So I’m thinking, if it’s cool with you guys, we could just do it the old fashioned way—the much more stress-free, tranquil way—and call on the card. Sorry for the Skype teaser but yeah, it’s like, the internet is just too sucky here and I don’t really want to use a cyber to be able to Skype. So if that’s cool, that would be great. Again, super sorry.
But yes, this week was a success! We had a baptism! Camilla was baptized!!! I would send photos but we are at different cyber with the other missionaries and I forgot my usb thing but I’ll be sending them soon. The baptism was great and went off without a hitch. The Argie thing here is when our kids are having some event (birthday party, baptism, etc) you have to go all out and just deck out a massive party! So that’s what happened, Camilla’s mom decked out an enormous shin dig. Seriously, there were like 70 people there at the baptism—It was massive! Super impressive. Camellia’s dad baptized her and the next Sunday we confirmed her. We are hoping to baptize 4 or possibly 5 next week so cross your finger for the Familia Ruiz. I’m stoked!
I’m doing good. Its blazing hot in Salta but, none the less, we had a very successful week. The tacky/tiny/plastic/china made/are you f`reals?!/highly flammable what they call “Christmas decorations”, are out in full force. More about that later.
This Sunday I gave a talk it church! It went smashingly! My talk was on the true meaning of Christmas and the best gift of Christmas. I used the story of the Grinch as an example. I’m paraphrasing here but I said that the Grinch hated Christmas because of all the toys, lights and material stuff like that. So he went and stole Christmas from the Whos. After he put all the stuff in his sleigh he was about to throw it off a cliff. Then he heard he Whos singing and had a change of heart; he finally got the true meaning of Christmas. I said that we too can have a change of heart and realize the true meaning of Christmas. In our case, we know that it is Christ. I then shared the story of the Savior’s birth when the angel visited the shepherds. In verse 17 of Luke chapter 2 we find something very interesting: The shepherds, after seeing the Savior, immediately went and told others about what they had just seen. I said that we too can be like the shepherds and share the good tidings of Christ with others. That could mean sharing the gospel or doing service. I talked about the experience we had a few years ago during Christmas vacation when we went and shoveled snow at the house of the sister down the street. I remember not being too stoked to go over there at the time but went grudgingly over there with you guys. I said as I was shoveling the snow I started to feel a change in my attitude and in my heart. I realized that we were doing service for someone who couldn’t do it for themselves. I don’t know if you guys remember this but I remember afterwards we talked a little bit about this act of service and how we felt. I remember we felt the spirit, we felt love. I then quoted a verse from “O Little Town of Bethlehem”. The same one President Monson quoted when he spoke about a Christmas act of service he did many years ago. The verse says: "No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin, where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in". I remembered Christ entered into our hearts that cold December night and, that through this act of service, all the participants were blessed. My challenge to everyone was to have a change of heart about the meaning of Christmas: To follow the example of the shepherds and share with others "concerning this child (Christ)", to share his gospel, to live it and to love and help others. By doing this we will be giving everyone the best gift of all, which is Christ. Preparing that talk really made me think about the true meaning of Christmas. Christ is our Savior. What a wonderful time to reflect on that. What a wonderful time of the year.
Well enough of that for now. Nothing else too significant happened last week but this week is shaping up for some adventures. As for now, we move onto questions:
- Does your ward do anything for Christmas?
They are having a "Pesebre Viviente" or a "living Nativity scene" this Friday at the chapel. We are inviting a lot of people to it. I’m for sure gonna hit it up. I wanna see how it’s done here.
- Do they sing Christmas hymns in sacrament meeting in the weeks prior?
Si señor. We sing “Silent Night”, “Hark the Heard Angels Sing”, “Away in a Manger”, “The First Noël”, etc. But alas, “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” hasn’t made it to the hymnbook just yet but pray for a miracle!
- Do you know what you will be doing for Christmas?
- Did you put up your Christmas decorations? Will you take a photo of them up?
Yes I did but with the whole usb situation at this cyber... Next time I promise! But I assure you they look amazing.
- Do they decorate or do trees or anything like the Americans?
Yeah. It’s like, super simple because a lot of people don’t have the cash to do a bunch of Christmas stuff. So they have tiny Christmas trees and decorations and not a lot of lights but several people want us to sing “Jingle Bells” (sigh). This is not a new request. I got the same thing from the Hermana G------- back in September—Never too early for Chrimbus.
- Have your taken photos of the virgin parades and that sort of thing?
Yeah, I have a few photos and a video or two for one. In the virgin parades they always have people playing drums to a funky Arab-sounding beat and its really tempting to not pass by one without singing "Prince Ali,fabulous he, Ali Ababwa " from Aladdin.
- Is the gondola in your area and would you be allowed to ride it?
No, it’s in the next zone but we can get permish to go on it. I heard it’s not all that jazzy but we´ll have to see about that.
Well family bananaly: It’s been real. It’s been fun. It’s been real fun. I hope you all have a fantastic Christmassy week. I can’t wait to call you guys. It´s gonna be so good to hear your voices. I’ll be calling around 7 at the church or something so get ready for that. I’ll try Skype if I can so be on guard for that but it’s most likely looking like the phone. Thank you so much you guys. You are the best. I love you! I’ll TALK to you next week. It’s all good.