Four packages came this week! I hope you take this as a testimony of prayer, because your prayers have been answered rather favorably. This week I received another package from Jan Holiday, a lovely Christmas package from Dan and Jena, Your own Christmas goodies and treats (you just know me so well. Tapioca? Ties to give to the recent converts? Thanks for having me for Christmas this year, Jordan! I love you!) and a little fun package you sent clear back in august with all sorts of funness from the Pioneer party store. Oh, it was a delight. I received them at zone meeting and my companion and I opened them on the colectivo ride back to Cañada de Gomez. I think my favorite part about receiving packages is sharing what's inside with the other missionaries. It's like I can finally explain to them in something beyond words the kind of love you offer me, my sweet family and friends. I get to share with them a little bit of Boren and Harper and Jan Holiday kind of caring :) I began handing out the chocolate and sour candies and pixie sticks, and you would have loved the look on these missionaries' faces. Elder Quispe from Peru, Elder Sanchez from Mexico, Hermana Martinez my companion from Honduras, and Hermanas Rane and Carlson from the States all looked like little children on Christmas morning! When I handed Hermana Carlson a stick of zebra stripe gum, she exclaimed "I haven't eaten this since I was five!" And mom, the little individually packed peanut butter jiff things were perfect. It made is so easy to share, give each person a little container of peanutty goodness that we've been craving for months. Everyone was laughing and smiling and enjoying the stickers and wanting to see the pictures Corey drew for me. I am so grateful for all you sent, thank you for your love and letting me share it with these good, faithful missionary soldiers I care about so much. The packages didn't come for Christmas, but they came just in time for dia de los magos (day of the orient kings.) It's celebrated on January 6th here, a tradition they have is that the kids put their shoes out at night and in the morning the three kings that brought baby Jesus frankincinse, mhyrhh, and gold also bring little treasures for the children. Thank you for filling to bursting every pair of shoes I have! :)
There's two dogs of Cañada I've grown particularly attached too. The first is named Pirata, spanish for pirate, whom our neighbors own. He is always sitting outside, mosying about, every day--and is such a sweetheart of a dog. I always have to tell him "Hola Pirata!" And it makes his owners laugh. There's a stray dog that's a dark brown collie and reminds me so much of my puppy Captain Jack. He seems to find us on a daily basis and follows us for hours, he's even to the point where he nuzzles my leg and has waited outside all 3 hours of church for us. I love him, and have named him "Roberts" for the Dread pirate roberts in Princess Bride. I figured I needed to stick with a pirate theme for all three. How is my dog doing at home? I get homesick for him with Roberts following us around.
I like to think God had me in mind when he created the animals. They are just a delight! All creatures of our God and king, lift up your voice and praises sing! Aleluia, aleluia.
This week was brilliant. I have loved every day, despite the challenges. Wednesday was Zone meeting, and our Zone leaders are so driven. They have such a wonderful balance between setting goals and improvement, with being grateful and cheering of the work we've been able to accomplish. We watched a short movie approved by President Giuliani called "The Butterfly Circus." I would encourage you to look for it on youtube family, it has so much heart. We talked afterwards about our worth as children of God and that truly with God, nothing is impossible. We also need to see the potential and worth of the rest of God's children, especially as we are teaching them, Members and Investigators alike. It was an uplifting meeting, and every time I am in a chapel filled with missionaries I just can't help but rejoice and think of how glorious this work is. The gospel is filling the earth, and I am humbled to be a part of it. We are preparing the earth for the Savior's coming.
This week we stopped by one of the nursing homes we had sung at for Christmas (we had some major christmas caroling service appointments in December) and enjoyed visiting with a man named Aldo whom we have talked with about the gospel on several occasions. On this visit we shared about the plan of Salvation, and he was so edified thjingking about life after death--he has lost a brother, son, and his spouse. After we offered the prayer he insisted to say a prayer as well. He began offering his praise to God to be able to hear his word and for the great hope we have to live with our families again after death. It is a glory and a wonder to hear these good Argentine people pray. Prayer is my favorite thing to teach and the sweetest communion with God, we are so privileged to pray! Whenever we are happy, troubled, sad, or excited--I just want to up and pray and share it all with our Father in Heaven.
We're still working with jimena and Jaun and their family. They didn't come to Chruch, but we're not letting that get us down. We've just got to reestablish the blessings they'll receive if they continue in the faith and help them to continue to read, pray, and progress.
There's so much more to say and no time :) So I'll just have to send another letter. I love you more than you know and pray for you every day. I am also going to be sending a little letter about Preach my gospel, I want to be part of family scripture study and love this book so much I thought maybe I'd send some of my insights. I'm not sure where you're starting to study, but I thought I'd send a few letters about my experiences with the Christlike attributes chapter.
Love forever and always, con MUCHISIMO amor,