Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas in Masaya

Multi-Zone Conference lunch on Christmas Eve with Elders Mehmetoff,
Sanchez, me, and Elder Bradbeer. Best food I've eaten in Nicaragua!
I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!!!!!

It was so amazing to be able to Skype with my family on Christmas Day! I was so happy during the call that I couldn't stop talking and I wasn't really sad at the time, but after we hung up, I started bawling like a baby. I felt like I could only tell them about 1% of what I wanted ... ugh ... hasta el dis de las madres!

Me, Elder Sanchez, Hermana Combs, and Hermana Pena at the
Multi-Zone Conference on Christmas Eve.
Me and Elder Sanchez on Christmas morning, getting ready
to unwrap our presents.
On Christmas Eve, we had a multi-zone conference in Managua. It was nice to see some of my old friends, and President Russell, he fed us really well! That was some of the best food I have had since I have been in Nicaragua. We started off the conference with about 3 hours of teaching from the President -- good stuff! Then, after we ate, they showed us a slideshow of a lot of the missionaries' families, and then they surprised us with some hand-written letters from our families. After that, we went outside and played some games in the heat, and then we came back in and took some pictures and stuff before we headed back to our areas. I included some pictures of the Hermanas in our district -- Hermana Combs and Hermana Pena. They're awesome! I was telling my folks on Christmas that Hermana Combs has been robbed a couple of times since she has been on her mission, and the second time, the drunk guy that was robbing her tried to cut off her finger so he could take her 'CTR' ring. Luckily, his knife wasn't sharp enough to cut through her bone, so she still has her finger that now includes a big scar.

Rocking my new shirt and PJ bottoms from Christmas.
I was really excited for the Nutella and peanut butter!!
For Christmas breakfast, I had some Oreos with the Nutella and PB ha ha.
Me and my companion had to go up to San Miguel on the 27th to
help baptize a lady named Tamara. The two elders up there who were
teaching her were super sick (if you can tell in the picture).
This is the home of our pensionista where she prepares lunch for us
everyday. Her kids had all received socks for Christmas and
that was it, so they were super excited.
So in Nicaragua, Christmas Eve is a much bigger deal than Christmas Day. December 25th isn't even a holiday here, but it's like a pretty normal day for most people. On the 24th, though, the people go CRAZY with fireworks and parades (I have been told that New Year's Eve will be even bigger fireworks). They do get visits from Santa Clause here, but if he brings any presents, they are usually just food and some item of clothing. A lot of people can't really afford any presents here, but most of the presents I saw were new socks. So I had a lot of fun handing out presents that my parents sent -- my family saw some of the pictures from my area and decided to send some presents for me and my companion to give away to some of the children for Christmas.  They wrapped them in two different kinds of wrapping paper so I could tell the 'boy' gifts from the 'gifts.' They sent so many, I still haven't been able to give them all out quite yet, but we've been searching for more and more people that deserve them. I know it helped make a lot of people happy. I can't tell you how amazingly excited the kids were for the new toys, especially for them coming from the States as I would explain it to them. I tried to include as many pictures as I could.

Well, we shouldn't be having any baptisms this week. There is one possibility, but it's not looking super likely, so we'll see. I am doing really good, all healthy, and the Spanish is fine. This next week will be our last full week before the next cambios. I know I will be leaving this area for sure, but I could still be staying in the Masaya Zone. Just have to wait and see.

Thanks to everyone for the letters and cards and emails and Christmas presents! I sure appreciate all the love and I hope everyone has a Happy New Year!

This is little W. Her mother comes and cleans our house, so her family
does a lot for us, and she loooooves playing and talking to us, and she
absolutely loved her presents.

This is J. Jr. and his little brother. They are a super young and humble family
family that we are teaching.

This is the son of the family who invited us over for dinner on Christmas Eve.
He hadn't received any gifts, so I was glad to give him one.

These are some of the family of Hermana Glorinda, whom we baptized back
in November. They are probably the most humble family I have ever had the
opportunity of teaching

We baptized H. and his dad a couple of weeks ago. He is a super cool kid!
He also didn't receive any presents for Christmas, so he was so stoked!!
Super great family and definitely deserving.

This is L and she is crazy! She is H.'s little sister and she loves coloring!
She couldn't wait to get started coloring.
This is more of the family of Hermana Glorinda. They loved the presents
but they needed us to play the card game with them to help explain how
to play because the instructions were only in English, which they can't
read. It was a lot of fun to play it with them.

I had to throw in one more picture of the little puppy for my little sister.

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