Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas in Mexico

Hola Familia,
This last week flew by!  However, the highlight was definitely talking to you guys.  It was such a great experience talking and seeing your faces.  I am so thankful that we had the means to accomplish that!  Afterwards, I could not be more thankful in all my life that every single one of you is healthy and happy.  What a wonderful blessing it is to know and see that!!  Elaine and Chad, I am so excited to hear where you will be heading out on the mission and I could not be happier to know that you are making such amazing choices with your lives.  You will cherish the mission and never, EVER, regret the decision you have made.  Even if I don't have the opportunity to see your faces in person before you leave, I will do everything I can to be a cheerleader.  It is so amazing to me that you have made the decision to get out in the field as soon as possible and I know the Lord will bless you for that!
It was hard to say goodbye the other day as we ended the call because I could have easily talked to you guys for hours.  However, I will have more than just hours to talk to you and look forward to that time!  It was like a short dream that I had while talking to you guys.  I get so lost in missionary work that the time goes by so fast.  The phone call was amazing and afterwards is was back to work as if nothing happened.
Well, Christmas here in Mexico is quite the scene!  The 24th here is a huge party in which the people start at about 8pm and don't end until 6 or 7 of the morning (25th) the next day.  We walked out the door Sunday morning and there was no one in the street and everything was dead.  However there were exceptions to this with drunk people sprawled out onto the ground, something that makes me sad to see.  When we trying to sleep there were tons of parties competeing with loud music and fireworks all night long.  Ha ha, but it is a wonderful time it which the lifestyle here slows way down and families get together and celebrate.  We as missionaries ate tons of food on the 24th.  We ate chicken in red salsa, ham, and spaggeti and tons of chocolate.  The 25th, I ate tacos of cow heart, liver, tongue, and other cow innards.  We also ate turkey with ground beef, beet salad, fish, and more ham!  As you can see the traditions here are to eat a ton and be together as friends and family.
I was so grateful for the opportunity the Christmas season offers.  We receive gifts from the Lord all year round and sometimes we rarely give him gifts.  We had the chance to watch the Christmas devotional by the First Presidency and I really loved what Pres. Uchtdorf said about the different gifts we can give and how that makes the Christmas season something special.  I have thought a lot about  that recently and the only thing that is really mine right now is my will and agency.  When ever I make the decision to do the will of God instead of mine own I am really giving a wonderful gift to the Lord.  That is something that we can do in all times of the year.  This last Christmas I gave to the Lord more of my diligence and have already seen miracles.  I know that every time we make the effort to do what the Lord wants us to do we can find more happiness, peace, and blessings in our lives.  Like in all things, the Lord was the greatest example of this while he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane saying to the Father that he would do His will instead of that of his own.  Thanks to this humilty and love we now have the way to return to the presence of our Father in Heaven.  I am so thankful for my Savior and for the opportunity that I have to serve him everyday.
I love you all and hope that you had a wonderful Christmas and the happy new year!!
Elder Janis

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