¡Hola a todos!
Well, another Monday has rolled around. I swear it was yesterday that I was in here writing a letter - and just the day before that I was back at home taking a Sunday nap on my bed. Where has the time gone? :)
Regarding the subject of this email - December 12 is Virgin of Guadalupe Day here in Mexico. (based on story of the Virgin Mary appearing at Villa de Guadalupe near Mexico City 500 yrs ago). Saturday was the annual celebration. Parades, fireworks, songs in the streets - the works. We were forbidden to contact that day - as President Velasco said, all the Catholics will be offended because it's their holy day and all the other Christians will be angry at the Catholics and not in the mood to listen. Haha. It really is a huge deal, but the worst has passed. :)
This week has been really good. I had several cool experiences with prayer - small things, but important to me nonetheless, and it's really the small things that add up into a testimony. I've come to realize how dependent I must become on the Spirit and the Atonement. Like you said in your last email, Dad, we learn little by little and find out there's a whole lot more left to learn. And we can't do it without the Spirit and without becoming humble, meek, receptive, obedient, diligent, and all the rest. Becoming like Christ is the goal of mortality, and we have to do it little by little, every day learning a little bit more and putting it into practice. It's a wonderfully long process. I'm very grateful for that - it means we have the opportunity to feel of God's love in our lives every single day. We have the opportunity to become better every single day. That, to me, is really amazing. What a great blessing to have this life - and all eternity - to progess and learn and feel joy.
We're still lacking for investigators - we are teaching one man though. His name's Luis. He likes to study but struggles with the faith and prayer side of things. We're meeting with him tonight - I'll let you know how that goes next week. We're working really hard though, trying our best every day, and little by little we'll start seeing progress and success.
Here's what I know about the phone call. We're allowed to call any day from Christmas to New Year's, and we're going to do it in a member's home. I think Christmas day is going to be a little busy, so we were thinking we'd call on Sunday the 27th. How does that sound? I hope that works. I'll give you the number in my email next week. We're allowed an hour to talk. Let me know if that day will work and when would be a good time - I'll let you know the specific details next week. I'm really excited for it. :)
This past Saturday was Zone Conference. It was great - I really learned a lot and was very edified. I received the 3 packages and one envelope Mom sent and Lisa's package too. I opened the Halloween candy, the Christmas tree, and the photos, but I'm saving the other presents for Christmas Day. :) Thank you so much for everything you sent. I was really excited and happy and could feel of your love when I received those things. Also, I got two letters from Grandpa Greer, a postcard and letter from Lisa, a letter from Matt, a letter from Steve, and a letter from Ms. Holmes (high school teacher). All of them were wonderful. It was great to hear how everyone's doing. Steve's letter was especially cool.
Now for last week's email.
Dad - I kind of mentioned this already, but I loved your spiritual thought. Everything you said is definitely true - and it's awesome that we have the chance to learn more for the rest of forever. I also think it's really cool that everyone in the family has been able to see blessings from my service. I've been so blessed myself, but it's even cooler knowing that those blessings aren't just limited to me. I liked the comment about Enoch and how he was impressed by God's personality and love. I've been thinking about that a lot lately - how God really knows each one of us. I'm working on a letter to send home and I put some more of my thoughts about that there. Also, I'm really glad to hear about your time with Josh and Matt. I'm excited for them both, and proud of them too. Thank you for all your advice. I'm working day after day to develop my faith and to aim higher and higher - to work harder and be better and follow the Spirit. It's a gradual process, but it really does bring blessings, and I'm just happy to have the opportunity to grow. I love you very much, Dad. Thanks for everything - the memories, the advice and counsel, the friendship. Love you.
Gabbie!: First off, I loved seeing the pictures of you in your Mario costume! It looks pretty awesome, I have to say. I loved all the pictures. Halloween looks like it was really fun. I also liked the changes you've made to my old room. Lookin' good! :) I'm glad to hear you've been putting up Christmas decorations and everything - we don't have many decorations here, and it doesn't really feel like Christmas because there's no snow! Be sure to enjoy it for me, okay? How was bringing Stephanie to gymnastics? Oh, and Mom told me last week that you made your hair curly? Tell me about that! I'm glad to hear that everything's going well and that you're having a lot of fun. Keep it up. Always remember that I love you very, very much. Until next week!
Mom: Sheesh! That was a long, long letter! I loved it. It sounds like Activity Days is going well. You'll have to tell me about Tyson coming home - his stories and everything. It doesn't seem like two years since he left. That's pretty exciting. I was glad to hear the van made it up the hill in the snow, too. :) Your Friday morning sounded really funny... like most of the morning before school that I remember, actually. :) Haha. It brought back good memories. Thank you so much for all of your words of advice and counsel and encouragement about missionary work. I loved everything you said and learned a lot from it. Your advice to accept your situation and learn to enjoy it really helped me and will continue to do so. Thanks for all of that. I'm glad you got the chance to talk to Josh and Matt about all the guys - I'm glad to hear all is well with them too. Give Reagan a hug from me and tell him to behave himself this week :) That's cool he learned to say "Jesus". Tell him to say it once for me. Mom, I love you very much. Thank you for all the advice and encouragement. And thank you so much for all the presents! I'm really excited to open them, and excited to get to call home soon too. Thanks again - I love you very much. :)
Miranda: Sounds like snowboarding is going well! Christmas tree bodybags...haha. Now, about the ACT - did you get kicked out the first time? Is this something I should already know about? If so - I've forgotten. I don't have time right now to read all of your email from today, but I skimmed it and really liked everything you said - I'll print it out and respond to it next week though. Thanks for being such a good example to me, and such a good friend. Keep up the good work and keep having fun! I love you!
Everyone, remember how much I love you, and know that I'm very thankful for your influence, example, and love in my life. I'm very happy and I just love missionary work. At times it's tough, but it's very worth it. Thanks for all of your letters. Until next week - I love you!