Hello my beautiful family!!!
I loved seeing your faces on Christmas!!! It was the best Christmas present ever. Honestly, I feel so grateful to have such a great family. I had a smile the rest of the week thinking about all of you. Also...Easton is such a little stud! Tell him to stay away from the girls. He's only allowed to sing and play the guitar for his aunts!!!
This week was a little slow as far as missionary work goes. I mean, who wants to talk to the missionaries on Christmas? And more, when it is cold and rainy outside? The 24th is the biggest day here and it's when everyone does their dinner and party. That morning, we were walking around in the freezing cold rain and got super wet. Luckily one of the sisters in our ward let me borrow a jacket a few months back and I hadn't returned it so I had something to keep me warm! haha...don't worry, we returned the jacket on Saturday. :) We went searching for people to teach and menos activos but no one was home. We contacted but our area was like a ghost town. We decided to visit Rosario because we knew that she would let us in and so that we could finish teaching Dante one of the lessons he missed. They saw us coming up the street and were so excited to let us in. They shared a little bit of warm pozole that they had with us and helped us get warm. Dante said the prayer to bless the food and while he was praying, he thanked Heavenly Father for us and I felt so overwhelmed with gratitude. Just a few hours before I was thinking about how silly it was that we were walking around in the streets getting soaking wet when no one wanted to talk to us, and as soon as Dante said that prayer, I was filled with the spirit and I knew that all the things we go through on the mission are so worth it because we meet people who change their lives and who also change ours.
After we visited Rosario, it was time for the food appointment. We ate with a member in the ward from Peru named Maribel and her brother Aldo. Her brother isn't a member but he loves us and loves to cook for us. He told me that I have to go to Peru when I get home from my mission. We were all freezing cold and soaking wet but like all missionaries we just kept quiet so we weren't a bother. Aldo accidentally touched the sleeve of Hna. Chambers and felt that she was wet and he freaked out. We all then confessed that we were really cold and wet still and so he hurried and got us a bunch of coats and blankets and socks and hats and anything he could find. It was much appreciated. He also made us hot chocolate which warmed us up.
After the food, we went to more food with our friend Luz. She just recently came back from the mission for health problems and is super awesome. She helps us a ton. She is the only member in her family and is super faithful. Her mom is super nice, just doesn't want to commit to baptism...but she will one day! We ate with them and then hurried home full as can be. We exchanged gifts between companions and it was fun. Mom, my companions say thank you for the stockings!
Also, shout out to Joyce Seegmiller! I got her package she sent me on Monday. It was awesome because she sent a bunch of little toys, so we gave them to Rosario so that Santa could bring something to her boys. We also gave them a little nativity set that she sent and they loved it!!
Thursday...well, I talked to you all so you know how that went. That was so great. I love you all so much.
Saturday was the day that Rosario, Dante and Diego...and the rest of the ward were going to go to the temple visitor's center. We visited them before they headed out and they were so excited. When we got to the house, Dante showed us the hymn book that Santa brought him with the BIGGEST SMILE I have ever seen. I had to take a picture because it was so cute and I was dying of laughter. He had already put stickers all over the cover.
Also, Saturday, my birthday miracle happened! We all know that David (or super Dave as the Elders like to call him) went out of town. On Saturday, we were in the ruta heading to a cita and I just felt like I should call him to see if he had service again. The phone rang and rang and I was just about to hang up when he answered!! I was so happy. He was in the airport headed back home and he said that he would be in church the next day. I asked him how he was doing with his coffee and he said that he is drinking tea in the mornings and has been feeling fine. We were so excited to hear that! He did come to church yesterday and we are going to visit him as much as possible to make sure he is set for baptism this weekend!
Yesterday was the best day ever! Probably the most memorable birthday yet. The whole day I felt special. My companion made me breakfast and the other sisters had bought me a donut and put 26 matches as candles in it for me because they didn't have candles. hahahaha. It was hilarious. Hna. Balboa and Hna. Zamora brought me a present at church and a bunch of members remembered it was my birthday. They even announced it over the pulpit! haha. After that everyone was hugging me and telling me happy birthday. My little buddy Michelle (Mich), who never wants to talk to me in English even though she speaks it, made me a card and told me 'Happy Birthday!' in English!
Church was great and then we went to the food with the Martinez Guzman family. I LOVE this family. They invited another family over and all the missionaries (8 of us) to celebrate with me. We ate food and then I used my 26 candles that Mom sent me on the cake. It is a tradition here in Mexico to take a bite of the cake and then others smash your face into it while you are biting it. And that is exactly what happened! Cake went up my nose and in my mouth and I couldn't breathe! Everyone was laughing hysterically except me...well, because I couldn't breathe. haha. After, I joined in the laughter! The family also made little bags of candy so that I could give them out to everyone as a party favor, which is also another tradition. I felt so special, seriously. Everyone was so good to me.
After that food appointment, we headed to the Pintor's house...for more cake! haha. When I walked in all the lights were out and they threw confetti on me and started singing Las Mañanitas (the birthday song in Mexico). They bought me chocolate cake and I also had my face pushed into it! haha. It was so fun to be with them.
We ate so much food this week, I think I am going to start a 40-day fast. Or at least pray that I get sent back to Iguala so I can lose the weight I gained in the last week. haha.
I really had a great birthday and week! I hope you all had a lovely Christmas! Thank you all for the birthday wishes. I don't think I will have time to respond to everyone, but know that I love you and appreciate your support.
I am grateful for the mission. This is a time I will never forget or regret. I know that the church is true and that Christ is our Savior! I know that the gospel changes lives. I am grateful to be a part of this great work here in Mexico!
Love you all sooo much!
the 26 year old Hermana Durham :)
Rosario and Dante with the Nativity