Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Eve! We get to video chat with Josh tomorrow for 40 whole minutes, and we are so excited. Josh's email title this week was "Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the streets, not a cat was a-purring, because the dogs eat them there." I have no idea what that's from, and out of context this is really creepy...anyways, enjoy!

Ho, ho, ho!

What is going on world? This week was so-so for us. The baptism we were supposed to have this week fell through because our baptismal font didn't work. You'll remember that I don't like mornings, and at 6:30, trying to fix a font that wasn't working didn't make me the happiest person in the world. But, it's working now, and we'll have the baptisms this weekend. I ate cow's leg. I don't think you understand what I mean. The part of the leg, almost at the hoof. The part with no meat. It's not even skin. I don't know what it is, but it is the grossest thing, without any doubt, that I have ever eaten. It took me six minutes to chew, another three to swollow, and my body got that gross stuff out of me in about an hour. I just can't describe it. And they watched me eat it the whole time, smiling, and saying, "It's so good, right?" The biggest lie I've ever said in my life was the response that followed. "Yes." Then, to top it off, right after, we had a soup with fried chicken skin, spinach, and salt. I almost vomitted, my body couldn't take anymore. In China, we had gross stuff, but nothing like this. I didn't want to eat for like 3 days after this stuff, it was so darn awful. Cow leg. Cow leg? Cow leg. Woof.

Christmas stinks here. There are no decorations anywhere. Not a one. Church yesterday, want to hear the program? Angels We Have Heard on High, sacrament, talks about the Young Men's program, and we sang High on the Mountain Top, and other not Christmas hymns. Nothing invites that Christmas Spirit in Sacrament Meeting like one Christmas song. But, we had a Christmas miracle this morning. Our shower broke like a week ago, so we bathe in ice water. We were going to fix it today, then I got in the shower, and hot water came out. Thank you Santa! I also look forward to opening the pajamas and chocolate orange tomorrow. Talk about self-control, I know what I got, and still haven't opened it. I may buy myself some cheap speakers, too, if that's okay, because the ones I have are dying, I think. Tomorrow, we'll be calling from a member's home, the Montegro family. They are like my family here, I love them. They are getting sealed on Friday, and are super excited. Plus, they have 8 Golden Retriever puppies, so bonus there. Hopefully the connection will be great, and there will be no problems. Sneider and Sonia may be there, too, so maybe you can meet them! Sneider can say "Can I go to the bathroom please?" in English, but he's failing English, so his vocab stops there. At least you'll meet the Montegro family and Elder Sanchez for sure, which will be good. Polish up on your Spanish.

We made gingerbread cookies this morning in our chapel. They didn't turn out good, in fact, they were bad. But, hey, Merry Christmas. 

Our bishop spoke about us in Priesthood this week. It was really awesome. He is a tough, rigid guy. Really good bishop, just hardly shows emotions. He started crying and talking about how much we've done to strengthen his ward. He said that since we've been here, our converts have all been attending church, and he knows that we're doing our best work to help them. The ward has about 500 members, maybe 110 attend. All of our converts are still attending, and 2 of 5 inactive families that we work with are now attending regularly. The Lord has been really good to us in our work here. We've put in all of our best efforts, and done our best to do what the Lord wants from us here. This week, we struggled to find new people, to me, that's the hardest part of missionary work. To find the people who are prepared. Once you find them, it's usually not too tough to help them learn and progress, but it is very hard to find those people. There are so many Catholics here, and they are mean and rude. I start being really direct with them when they're rude to me, and I leave having won that fight.

The Batman diet continues to go well. 1500 push-ups a week, I'm running tons, and feeling more and more ready to fight crime. Sneider wants to be Robin, so he and I are going to sneak out one night this week and fight the ladrones here. I'm not happy with Elder Sanchez. He told me the end of Batman. Super not happy. I want someone to hit me hard on the head and give me amnesia to forget. Blah.

Talking tomorrow will be great, especially in English. I rarely get to speak English, really only when I'm on splits with a missionary that speaks English, which is not often. When we're all together as a zone, we mostly speak Spanish, becuase the Latinos think that we're saying mean things about them. I don't mind it, Spanish is great, but it's about time for some English. 

You guys should send a package/letters to Elder Sanchez. Could each of you write a letter to him. All he has is his mom and his sister, and only his sister writes him emails. (just found this out.) So send him a few little things, it would be so great for him. His mom tells people that he's here at school, she doesn't talk about him being a missionary. He's sacrificed a lot for the Church, I admire him so much. He's a great man, and has a great future in the mission.

I love the sector, but I also feel ready to go. January 27th or 28th, I think, are transfers, and my leaders tell me that I'll probably go to the coast because I am an obedient missionary. I don't mind where I go, it's getting to that point where I should be in a new place. I've contacted almost every street here, called almost everyone in the area book, I'm just running out of ideas for what we can do to find new people. But, we work our hardest every day, and we seldom come home feeling discouraged about our work. We may contact all day, but we know that we're working our hardest and doing the Lord's will. 

Little Josh, you're awesome. Congrats on your baptism, and, yes, I am having fun on my mission. Just remember, don't ever eat cow's leg, or you will be sick. Sorry I couldn't be there, but I am super proud of you.

It's about that time to sign off, but you can't complain because we get to talk tomorrow. I love you all tons and tons, and we'll talk tomorrow... I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas, and remember the real reason why we celebrate this great time of the year.

Con amor, hambre, y sueƱo,

Elder Thomas

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