Monday, December 23, 2013

Dear Family and Friends - December 23, 2013
 
I will now tell you how I have been celebrating Christmas as a missionary.  As a mission they split us up into three groups and the President and his wife spent a day with each group to celebrate Christmas.  So for me it was on Thursday that my zone and 3 other zones had our turn to head up to San Pedro to celebrate.  We hopped on the bus to San Pedro in the morning and met in this giant stake center in El Benque.  This is where we have cambios and all our big meetings.  President and his wife gave talks on what Christmas means to them.  I really do like my President and his wife.  They are so kind and worry so much about us, though only about one hundreth of how much my mother worries for me.  Then all together we sang every single Christmas hymn in the hymnbook one after the other.  It made me so darn thirsty.  After that we had lunch which was followed by, drumroll.... brownies and ice cream!  We were so thrilled.  And we watched It's a Wonderful Life and went home.  It was a nice peaceful way to spend the day. 
 
Today as a zone we celebrated Christmas by ordering pizza in Puerto Cortes and watching A Christmas Carol.  That is actually kind of a scary movie for small children let me tell you.  Sister Reyes and I bought a piñata to share with everyone and that was fun to watch.  I thought we'd break it the first try but it took 7 missionaries to finally burst it.  Tomorrow we have to enter the house at 6 pm as that is the rule so we can't have Christmas dinner with anyone.  But all day we will help members make their tamales and then 6 families have already promised to bring by tamales for us that day.  Funny thing is Sister Reyes hates tamales so I'm going to have to eat like 50 tamales.  Maybe I won't like them so much after this experience.  I plan on making Christmas dinner tomorrow anyways with the stuffing and instant mashed potatoes mom sent.  Then I'll run across the street to get some fried chicken to go with it.  Feliz Navidad! right?  It wouldn't be Christmas in Honduras without fried chicken and tamales.  Even though the 24th we have to be in the house early, the 25th will just be a regular old day.  So the 24th in the night I'll also open my presents.  I'm so excited!  Then what I am most excited for will be the 25th when I get to TALK TO MY FAMILY!!!!! I might just burst into tears to see your faces.  I do love you so much.  I hope you are all well.  Christmas will be nice this year, just different of course.  So we'll see how it goes.
 
The worst Christmas present of all came yesterday.  Apparently a sister missionary in the mission hurt her leg somehow and had to go home to get it fixed, and so they chose Hermana Gardner to take her place in this emergency companion switch since she's part of a trio right now.  She left Campana this morning!  We've been together the whole mission, and she's my best buddy in the mission.  And just before CHRISTMAS.  I was so sad.  I'll just hope to get sent wherever she is in the next change to be together again.  I do anticipate being moved since I have so much time in this area, but we'll see what happens.  
 
Things are still going well with Hermana Reyes. She's fun and supportive and she has a Michael Buble Christmas CD that we listen to everyday so that has been nice. Just this week will be rough since it's Christmas. Everyone is busy and doesn't have time for us to visit them. I really don't know what we'll be doing all day the 25th.  We shall see.  
 
Sorry that dad had the flu.  I hope everyone's healthy now.  I do love the hymn Silent Night.  I memorized it last week in Spanish, because learning songs in Spanish is one of the most helpful ways for me to study.  I learn new words and it is an easy way to memorize the grammar of Spanish. 
 
To answer dad's questions.... to find new investigators the best way has really just been offering service.  Whether it's washing laundry, taking people's groceries to their house and then they are happy to have us over again and they don't feel like we are just there to preach, but really there to serve.  Also pretty much everyone in Campana is family... it is very weird, but anyways people tell us about their family members who aren't members at times so we get references for that.  Church activities here are pretty hard to do as there is no money at all.  In fact last week the ward was supposed to have a Christmas Dinner and it got cancelled because there wasn't enough money.  It is a challenge.  But last week we did have a movie night with the ward and watched the Guardians and we bought popcorn with the other missionaries in the ward so it was pretty cheap, just to have something for everyone.  All the cute ward member missionaries each brought one powder mix so that all together there could be a drink too for everyone.  They were so excited.  We are working hard with them so that everyone is excited.  But money makes for challenges activity wise.  Though the movie night was a success and lots of investigators came. 
 
Our biggest problem is getting investigators to go to church because people don't have money to take the bus many times and our area is so large.  One house we visited this week the lady wants to go to church but doesn't have enough money to take the bus every week so she's inactive for that.  Though she really wants to go.  It would take her one and a half to 2 hours to walk to the church from her house.  And there really are some members that go that far each week walking or riding a bike.  It is incredible.  But for this getting new investigators to come can be a challenge....
 
I do expect that Anyeli will be baptized real soon.  We will visit her Thursday to set a date.  She is so darling.  I feel like it is easy to relate with her since she's our own age.  
 
Mom wondered if the homemade treats got her well.  Really everything arrived in great shape and tasted good and everything.  I myself was surprised.  Though I can't believe my family spent 100 DOLLARS on a package!  Then sent more packages on top of that.  You people are out of control!  Don't worry so much!  I feel so spoiled.  It really isn't necessary.  
 
I love you all so so much!  I can't wait to talk with you on Wednesday! 
 

 
 
 
ADIOS!  FELIZ NAVIDAD 
 
HERMANA JOHNSON 

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