Happy New Year's Eve!
Time is the weirdest. In the beginning of my mish I thought I wouldn't see you guys until the second coming or the spirit world, but here I am more than a fourth done with the mission and a week past my first Skype call? It makes no sense so I think I will just stop keeping track of the date from now on.
Lots of changes right now! New year, new comp, new zone, new goals, etc. My new companion is named Elder Jackson. He is from Oregon (<--dope) and is super cool. He's the nicest guy who grew up on a farm, was a river rafting guide (a small dream of mine), drove a sick jeep before the mish, has great taste in music, has about a year and a half in the mission, works good, and is so nice to work with! Yesterday after we finished up all the chaos of transfers we cleaned and organized the whole house TOGETHER (that's a first..woo!). We just buckled down and did it all. Swept, mopped, dusted, and moved furniture around. We even walk around without shoes on in the house now cause its so clean (mom you would be so proud haha)! So far I like him a lot and I'm super excited for the transfer ahead! Also our zone is fantastic. I will give you more details on the individuals throughout the transfers as I do divisions and stuff, but a few quick details: Hermana Palma from my district in Bahia is in our zone now! She's so cool and the most low-maintenance Hermana so I'm pumped! Also Elder Tannyhill got transferred so that was kind of a bummer...but hey, that's the mission for ya.
It was so good to talk with you guys! Skype was kind of a strange experience for me to tell the truth. Before I was soo excited but also a bit nervous because I thought seeing you guys would make me soo trunky, but after the call ended I felt completely fine. I haven't been super homesick in my mission but I have just had this mentality of "everything is SO much better back home and here I am walking on dirt for 500 miles every day.." haha. Then when I saw you guys, everything was so... normal. I still miss you guys a lot because I love you, but I can honestly say that I don't have any desire to be home right now. In other words.. I like to look at our skype call like closure from a bad breakup. Our separation was so sudden 7 months ago and I spent all that time wanting to be back with you... then we met up again. We chatted, we laughed, we even cried (just a tiny bit..), and now I can happily move on with my life realizing that I'm actually not missing out on anything. So here I am, living in this ugly/special country that isn't my favorite but it has character and people that are stubborn and lazy, but I serve them anyway and little by little they are growing on me and wedging themselves into my corazon :) Plus it's what Christ wants from/for me, so I will stay here and proudly call myself an American-Argentine for the next year and a half.
Love you all! I challenge everyone to strive to be a better person than you were last year and to use the gift of Christ's Atonement in your life to help you become that person you want to be. A priceless gift that He offers us for free.
"Don't look back." Genesis 19:17
Last week before the Christmas activity on Wednesday, all the leaders went for a conference on Tuesday. The conference went super great as we all counseled as leaders how to best influence our fellow missionaries and help them to become their "propio agente" (self-agent). Afterwards we went to visit a family that lives in the Maldonado ward that Elder Searcy knows (the missionary house in Maldonado is where I used to stay last transfer when I would come from Pedro Luro to Bahia every week for district meetings so I know this area pretty well). We got there around 5pm and they invited us to stay for an asado (jackpot) at 8pm. So we helped them prepare for that and Elder Tannyhill and I ended up chatting in their backyard for like 2 hours. That kid is such a homie. We found out we have the same birthday and that he went to the same place we went to in Cancun, and his family also has a condo in Del Mar, San Diego (the same beach that I went to with Lyssa and her family before the mission!) Small world! So nice to talk to a normal person haha :)
After dinner at the family`s house in Bahia (forgot their names), we went back to the AP's house to find it PACKED with missionaries seeing that we were having the activity with everyone tomorrow. They could have planned sleeping arrangements a little bit better in my opinion... so anyway they ran out of space inside, so Elder Tannyhill, Elder Searcy, and I went "camping!" It felt so good sleeping outside, besides the fact that I got eaten alive by bugs all night. We ended up playing some pranks on some of the Elders inside which was funny, then we stayed up for a while quoting Jim Gaffigan (been a while, but I still got it haha).
Morning of the activity! We all met up after the rest of the missionaries arrived in the Plaza Rivadavia. There were SO many missionaries and we were getting the weirdest looks from everyone haha (what else is new, right?). So then we did a giant scavenger hunt in Centro of Bahia. Looking for buildings, Christmas caroling, taking pictures with specific people. I felt like I was in the Amazing Race. It was dope.
After the activity we went to the stake center for a GIANT ASADO put on by President with all the missionaries. See all that meat behind me? Ya...lots. It was delicious.
Maybe the coolest picture I have ever taken on my mish. ALL my comps (besides my new one Elder Jackson). With everyone together I gathered up all my comps and got a picture with them. So weird to be with all of them at once. That was like companion inception. Also Elder Moraes died last week (went home for those who don't understand mission lingo). That was a bit sentimental, but I was super glad to see him before he left. That first transfer with him was hard, but I love that guy to death.
We stole some santa hats off a few other missionary heads. yoso
Feliz Navidad :)
Our arrival group from the MTC. Elder Arnold still doesn't like hugs... or being touched (as you can tell from the face) but we're havin a great time!
After lunch we went in and watched a movie!! They let us watch Emperors New Groove. That was definitely a highlight of my day. We watched it in English too!! I was laughing my head off at almost every part haha! love that movie.
After the movie, some dinner, decorating Christmas sugar cookies while listening to the Michael Buble Christmas album (most trunky day... wow), AND watching videos from everybody's Stake Presidents that were sent in (that was so cool, please tell Pres. Anderson I said thank you for his message to me), we went into the chapel for a giant missionary testimony meeting. That was super powerful and amazing to hear the testimonies of some of my fellow missionaries and to bare my own. Loved that!
Listened to Pres. and Hna. Cifuentes give some closing remarks. I love them so much.
We made some no-bakes last week and took them to Nadia and Nicolas. People here are fascinated by no-bakes haha. Not many people use peanut butter here.
Made some banana pancakes this morning with Elder Miller, Elder Howlett, and Elder Jackson (my new comp). Yum!