Monday, December 28, 2015

Diciembre 28, 2015

Hey. So Christmas happened.
On Tuesday before our leaders meeting in Castro we were able to go to Líder. Líder is Chilean Walmart. I entered and I wanted to cry. The halls were clean, the produce was fresh, and they had PEANUT BUTTER. Bought that in a heartbeat. While we were there a lady stopped us. She just moved from Santiago. She has been a member for 30 years and was wanting to get in touch with the missionaries so they could have Christmas dinner with them. We exchanged information and helped her know where the church is. God knew we would be in Líder. It is cool seeing those small ways that he is involved in our work.
For Christmas Eve we had a noche de hogar [family home evening] with la familia Eramos in the branch. When we got there were two other families from the ward there. It felt like a family reunion. We sang Christmas hymns and had a spiritual thought. Then we all shared our feelings about Jesus Christ. Afterwards we ate. There was a table full of cookies, candy, soda, everything unhealthy. They made a gingerbread nativity scene. They also had a drink called colamono which translates into monkey tail. Colamono is basically eggnog. Tasted just like it. Tender mercy. They cooked a giant 3’x 3’ pizza. They grilled meat. After we were sick from eating food from the table, they sat us down and threw a massive steak in front of us with a potato, longaniza, and a hotdog. Wayyyyy too much. Throughout the whole night, Hermano Alexis kept telling me "eat" whenever I stopped. He is a super funny guy. They had the elders wear Santa hats. Mine didn’t fit over my head. Then they gave us a Christmas stocking with candy, deodorant, soap, and a pair of socks (they know what missionaries need). Super happy night. When I got home I cut the last ring off of my Christmas countdown chain.
Christmas Eve

For Christmas we visited a family that lives at the top of Quellón. Super high up. Their house burned down about 6 months ago. They have had to rebuild everything. We shared a spiritual thought. Then we cooked an asado. An asado is basically a barbeque. They had already butchered a lamb, and it was just chillin on the table right next to us. Kind of distracting during our message, but funny. We put the lamb on a giant asadadore. An asadadore is basically a 12 ft long metal shish kabob. We built a bonfire and then put the asadadore next to it.  It cooked for about two hours while we turned it. While it was cooking we explored around the house. They have roosters, ducks, geese, everything. They showed us a house [barn] where they keep 20 pigs. And I’m talking PIGS. They are more like triceratops. They come up to my belly button. Huge. As we got near the house where they keep them, I could hear shrieks, grunts, everything. It sounded like they were housing dinosaurs. I took pics with some. A beast of a pig almost bit me in the back. As we left, I had splashes over my nice white shirt. We laughed pretty hard over that. With the asado, we would spread salt water with herbs over it and then cook it again. After, we sat down to a fat dinner and just ate. Super good. Love that family.
Christmas day

This week, I had an intercambio with my zone leader Elder Vega. He is serving in Castro. It was super good. It was raining super hard, but we still worked hard the whole day. We did so many contacts and walked till my legs fell off. The highlight of the day is that we were able to visit a hermano that had recently lost his job. We shared the Christmas video and a message about how Jesus Christ knows our struggles. I felt the Spirit.
After skype, I was super trunky. We went home, and I cried and wrote in my journal. This week, I have also been seeing a lot of my weaknesses. I feel weak. The mission isn’t easy. I’m anxious to learn, apply grow, gain members´ trust, do contacts, improve my Spanish, lose weight, be focused..... The list goes on and on. I was in a hole. I had a "collapse to your knees" prayer. I told God everything. After, I asked Him what he wanted me to know. I felt an overwhelming "I LOVE YOU" course through my veins. I also felt that God could see the sacrifices I have made to be here on the mission, that He appreciated them and that He saw them. I also felt Him reassure me that He will always fulfill promises that He has made. I felt prompted to ask for a blessing. I did. Elder Weech helped me out so much. I was blessed to know that my mission to this point hasn’t been a failure; I have touched and blessed lives in big and small ways; that I have changed significantly; that my family has been blessed; that I just have to do my best and I will grow, learn, and “become” in the Lord’s own timing. This church is true. I know it is. God loves us. I know He does. And He is working with me from where I am right now. Even when I feel week. Pondering Doctrine and Covenants 123:17 is helping me.
Elder West

Mission meeting in Puerto Montt with Elder Teixeira