Monday, December 29, 2014

A Very Special Christmas

Hi everyone!

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! Our Christmas was really cool. Generally, Hispanics celebrate Christmas Eve more than Christmas Day. We were lucky enough to have a family invite us over to celebrate with them. The traditional Christmas Eve dish is tamales which is basically like this meat inside of this corn meal stuff wrapped in a corn husk. So we had a ton of those, some with chile verde, some with chile rojo, and some sweet ones. The family also gave us each a box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates (I never had those before my mission; they're amazing) and we sang some Christmas songs. Most of all, it was just really nice to be with a family and feel of the love and Spirit that is in their home.

On Christmas day, we had dinner with the Bishop and his family. They had ALL the missionaries over, all 11 of us! For Christmas day, Mexicans traditionally have pozole which is like this soup with pork and chile and hominy. It's super yummy too. It was really cool to be able to have traditional Mexican meals for these holidays. We also played some traditional Mexican games at the Bishop's house. Overall, it was a blast!

On Christmas, I also had the chance to talk to my family! That was so fun. Because there's so many missionaries in the ward we were having a hard time finding members with internet who would be available to have us over to Skype our families. My mom told me that her aunt's stepson lived super close to us in Keizer and that we could go Skype or Facetime over there. We decided to do that and set up everything to go over there on Christmas day.

Auntie Hayley and Hudson getting reacquainted

When we got to the house, in the entry way there was this woman waiting for us. She looked familiar but I couldn't exactly figure out why. I gave her a hug and after a few minutes of looking at her and talking to her, I realized that she looked so familiar because she looked just like my mom and my grandma. That's when I finally pieced together that this was my great Aunt Gini whom I hadn't seen since I was a little girl!  It was SO VERY special to be able to be with her on Christmas. I got to ask her all kinds of questions about my grandma and what she was like and what my mom was like when she was little. We both got emotional as we talked about my grandma and what kind of person she was. Both of my grandmothers and my grandfather on my dad's side passed away either before I was born or when I was very little so I've never really known what it was like to have grandparents, to have that kind of relationship with someone, and I've always been sad about that. Spending just that brief time with Aunt Gini was so very special for me, to feel that kind of relationship and love. I love her so much!!! She is wonderful. It really was a testament to me of the strength of the bonds of family, how those connections are real and eternal.

One other quick story before I go... we were teaching Javier and Adriana this week along with Adriana's brother, Augustine. We taught about the purpose of life on earth and how it truly is a time to prepare to meet God. We talked about keeping the commandments like praying, reading scriptures, going to church. We invited them to come to church with us. Javier and Adriana agreed, Augustine said he would like to but that he has work. We bore testimony to him that Heavenly Father would provide a way for him to be able to come at some point in the future through a change of schedule or something because He wants him to keep that commandment. After we said that, he said "You know what, I'm not going to work." We were super surprised and were like "Uhhh....what?" He said "Yeah, I'm just not going to go to work on Sunday and I'm going to come to church with you." Hahah totally not the response we were expecting. But you know what? He totally did it, just bailed out on work and came to church! That, my friends, is faith. 

I love you all!  Have a wonderful New Year's!!



More Christmas pictures...

Note from Mom:  I am so grateful Aunt Gini's stepson lives in Hayley's area and that they graciously provided the sister missionaries the opportunity to Skype and Facetime from their home.  They also fed them Christmas breakfast which was also so very kind of them.  What an extra treat that Hayley was able to see and speak with Aunt Gini!  Hayley had only met Gini one other time in her life when she was just two years old.  She was this little:

I'm glad she was able to have this additional special Christmas experience.  I truly believe there are no coincidences.


1 comment:

  1. What a great Christmas! I'm so glad she got to spend time with Gini! Missions are full of some pretty amazing surprises :) I'm glad she got to see little Hudson too!