|We hiked a tiny tiny hill today in the blasted heat!|
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!
I have reflected a lot this past week on where I was a year ago in my life. We were all together as a family in Costa Rica. I said goodbye to Brandon, Marianna, Jack, Melissa, Hannah, Jackson, and Jane. Each one of you gave me advice. I remember Jack drilling me with things as we were driving in the car. And I'll be honest but I don't remember what you told me...or what anyone told me. So I am started a new year. I want to be a better missionary than I was the last year. I WANT YOUR ADVISE. Again. But this time I'll hopefully remember. I want to come home a better person. I want to change for the better. I hope I can fulfill my purpose as a representative of Jesus Christ.
I was reading my patriarchal blessing this last week in a frustrating moment. It was during our personal study time. I was well supposed to be studying for my investigadores, but I kind was feeling selfish and wanted to study for me today. So I pulled out my blessing. I got stuck in the first paragraph. A line stuck out to me that I had never before really pondered. I hope I site it right. It says something like "You are His daughter Sarah. He knows you and He loves you so much." In that moment I was filled with my Savior´s love. He was with me and I felt a peace and love rush into my body. He understands my frustrations and weakness. But he loves me despite it all.
This Christmas was not like any other. I tried to think in Christ more. Serve more. Love more. Be a better me. We went around singing Christmas carols to many less active and active members. They were filled with joy as they opened their door and found us four dorky missionaries singing Christmas carols with Santa Claus hats. We also held a live nativity outside of our church to show Catholics and other people that we believe in and celebrate the birth of Jesus. And of course I got my best and probably only present Christmas day. I got to talk to my Family!!! The whole morning I was trying to ya know think and serve others, but man I couldn't focus I was just so excited to see your faces! Also worried that Skype wouldn't work. There are allwayyyss problems with Skype here. One of the Elders here used Skype before us and he could here his family but his family couldn't hear him. I prayed real hard that something tragic wouldn't happen. So you can say our Skype call was a Christmas Miracle.
Another Christmas Miracle. Hermana Carola was baptized yesterday! She was so nervous. After her baptism I gave her a great big wet hug, and she told me she felt a peace she had never felt before. She is someone very special to me. She works two jobs to provide for her two kids because her husband passed away months ago suddenly. Her husband is Italian and sold pizzas. When he died the business was Carola's. She now runs the business and another job. She gets about 2 hours of sleep. I only want the best for her and her two kids. We are hoping that know her year old son will want to be baptized too.
|This was the invitation to the marriage we threw. I didn't chose these cards....trunky.|
Annnnd we had the marriage! Well kind of.....Legally they aren't married yet because there were a billion and one problems with their papers. But we couldn't cancel the reception at the last minute. They will be legally married this Friday! I can't even explain the stress we went through this week. Satan was ONNN US.
I almost forgot to tell you about my experience with the drunk man. It was Christmas Eve. Hna Guachalla and I were waiting at the Church with the Elders for some members to come. We were ready to go sing our hearts out when a drunk man passed by on his bike. He slowly passed staring straight at me. Yeah it was a normal thing I didn't think anything of it. I began taking some pictures with my comp when he got off his bike and walked up to us. He yelled at me "Colorada! Dame la mano!" "White girl! give me your hand!" I just laughed and turned the other direction to ignore him. But he didn't stop. He kept on insisting. He had his hand out waiting for me to touch his hand. My companion looked at me and said "Don't do it." He wouldn't leave. then he said "Do you have faith?" I was silent this whole time, and so were the other missionaries. I was waiting for an Elder to stand up for me! Por Favor! Finally Elder Calderon said Sir "I think she feels uncomfortable." They talked for a while and I walked away. That is my story of the drunk guy on Christmas Eve.
Anyway I love you all and I am so grateful for all of my family and friends who I miss so much. It was a good Christmas to learn a lesson for myself, but I want to be with you all next year.
xoxo Hermana Stringham