¡FELIZ NAVIDAD Y AÑO NUEVO!
To start off, I’ll tell you about what happened Christmas Eve. We were invited to have dinner with the family Veloso. They are amazing! Both parents returned missionaries and it was pure laughs and fun that night. We had to be in the house at 11 and at 12 midnight, with the tradition, we opened our gifts.
Zone activity. Singing Christmas songs in the plaza on Christmas eve
The next morning (Christmas) at 11 we had church. There were about 15 people that showed up of our ward of 120...
We were listening to the first speaker when we felt a truck pass by and the building began to shake a little. But then it began to shake more and more. The fans on the ceiling were swaying every which way and I got really motion sick.
Afterwards a few people began to freak out and our Bishop went to the microphone and said that we need not fear because the chapel is the safest building to be in in Puerto Montt right now. It was a big testimony to all of us that yes, the chapels and houses of the Lord are the safest places to be. I’m so grateful for the protection of the Lord in His houses.
The Bishop resumed the meeting and just as the speaker began where she left off in her talk, everyone’s phones started beeping. The Chilean National Warning System was telling everyone they had to get to higher ground immediately in case the earthquake prompted a tsunami…
We went back to our flat to get our emergency gear and then went to a member’s house up on the hill until the tsunami warning lifted.
El 28 we had cambios. I’m still in Puerto Montt with the loca colombiana (Hermana Cordoba :) I’m going to kill her. (Mission slang for I’m going to be her last compañera). It will be fun and I know I’m going to learn a lot if this cambio is anything like last cambio.
On New Year’s Eve, the family Veloso called us in the morning to invite us for dinner again. It’s a Chilean tradition to cenar (dine) or have a big dinner for the holidays.
For Navidad (Christmas), it’s traditional to have chicken with potato salad and for dessert peaches with cream.
For New Year’s it’s tradition to have lamb with boiled potatoes and ice cream for dessert. I’ve never eaten so much lamb! And it is a meat really heavy and really fatty. There is a special way to cook it so it’s more dry so you don’t eat a lot of grease and it’s cooking it outside on a stick, like a bbq. Luckily I didn’t get sick but my comp did. It was really greasy and heavy for the stomach.
We had to be in the house at 10. We planned and then we made an año viejo (old year). It’s a tradition in Colombia. They make a life size doll out of old clothes and put powder inside it to make little explosions. At midnight they burn their año viejo.
We were going to burn ours on the roof at midnight instead of in the street because we live right next to a dead weed field and that would be bad to set the field on fire... (cough DAD). But then my voice of reason (hna Cordoba) told me that we shouldn’t burn it...
At midnight they shot fireworks from the ocean but we weren’t able to see a lot. We climbed out the 2nd story window and were able to see a little bit over the roofs of the buildings.
A tradition they have here is that on midnight, you leave your house and walk around the block with your suitcase and that means that during the year your will have the chance to travel. They also wear yellow underwear to represent more money in the year and eat lentils which represent enough food for the year.
New Year’s day was hard emotionally, physically and spiritually. It rained about the whole day. No one wanted to let us in because they were celebrating with their family. Hna Cordoba wanted to be in her home because in Colombia there are tons of people out and everyone is happy celebrating and loud. Chileans are a little more cold, pass more time in their house and are very quiet.
I wanted to be in my bed crying and with you guys. But before you get more depressed, I want to tell you about an experience that I had this week.
We contacted an older lady on the street and began talking to her. After about 5 minutes she began crying and said that her husband had left her and 2 of her kids have died and of her other 2 kids, one spouse just recently died and the other one has cancer. We gave her some words of alivio (relief) and comfort and set up a time to meet with her.
Later in the week we passed by and she shared with us that she doesn’t believe in life after death nor in the resurreccion. that when we die, that ends all. How terribly sad!! I almost started crying just listening to her. We taught her the plan of salvation and I had the opportunity to testify to her that there is a life after death and thanks to Jesus Christ, we will all be resurrected and if we are faithful have the opportunity to live with our families forever. I felt the spirit testify of my words and felt so much peace and hope and comfort for what I know.
After wards my comp asked her how do you feel? She told us with a new light in her eyes that she feels hope. And for the first time in a very long time peace. I know that my Savior lives. I know that Russell is good, happy and working with Grandpa Hess in the Spirit World. No, it doesn’t make his absence easy, but it does make it bearable. I am so grateful for the gospel in the my life and the hope and peace that it brings to me.
I love my Savior and I know that He descended below all so that He can know perfectly how to succor us and give us the help and strength that we need.
This year I chose a scripture to be my theme for the year, like what the youth have. My scripture theme for this year is Doctrine and Covenants 82:19. “Buscando cada cual el bienestar de su projimo y haciendo todas las cosas con la mira puesta unicamente en la gloria de Dios.” (“Every man seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God.") Is this how you look on the glory of God? What is your scripture theme for this year?
I love you guys so much and am so grateful that we were able to talk this navidad! Keep being good. Keep being honest, loving, forgiving, understanding, longsuffering, and patient. I know that this is God’s church and that He loves all His children. I love you and this Gospel.