As for this week, Xavier is still progressing! He's the man, this issue is with his parents. They are separated AND he lives with Grandpa who is less active. We were hoping (and still are) for the baptism of he and his little cousins this Christmas, but they weren't at sacrament meeting this week. We'll pass by today to see what's up and if they can still pull through for this Christmas.
Here are a few pictures from the temple, a cool sunset, and baptisms from the 4th of Dec and 18th! We baptized Brayan Navia, the 11 yr old son of the couple we baptized around Mom's birthday and what a riot that was. He called us the day of the baptism to say he's not ready and wants to hold it off a week. Great haha. We ran to his house and zipped through the interview questions again. We had a few doubts and questions but in the end felt confident for the baptism. His parents are still a struggle, they have a lot to learn and are progressing little by little, but we visit them about every other day to keep up the progress and have converts for life in them. What a true joy it was to see this smile on his face.
This week we ran into our Internet Cafe to print off a few things for the day and got talking to the man in charge. We always have our 'hello' but that's it. Turns out Alex is a pastor for an Evangelical Church and was full of questions! It was pretty funny, he came in for the kill (we could feel it and see it on is face) with 'so do you have prophets in your church?' Well yes actually we do! 'Hmm... but really, living prophets on the earth right now?' Why most certainly and it's great that you ask cause here's a picture of him! And he just gave a Christmas Talk that we'd like to share with you and the whole family! We really got him in a bind AND interested with that one. He accepted and we're going to pass by this week to share with him the true meaning of Christmas, I'm so excited!
To finish, he went in for one more kill... 'so you have prophets, but do you have pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth?' Well I'm so glad you asked Mr. Alex, here's an Article of Faith card for ya, why don't you read number 6 and tell us what you think? I can't wait to share this message with him, the Lord truly prepared us with a man full of questions and missionaries ready to answer with a bold testimony and smile. He told us something that I will never forget. He said 'you know, the difference between you guys and other religions that I really like, you guys truly listen. You listen, you respect, you share. Thanks for listening.' Whether you are a missionary, a member, a friend (I think that covers you all ;)) Learn to listen. It doesn't have to be religion and you don't have to give feedback, but the gift of having ears to listen really brings trust and friendship.
The gift to simply listen and love changed our companionship this week. It was a rough one, a week of patience. But this morning I asked Elder Añorga what was up, in a nice way haha, and he just vented it all to me. Things I had done (whether I knew or not), things on his mind in his life, with investigators, whatever the case! Our companionship turned back into the friendship we used to have by simply listening. Learn to listen, show you care, smile while you're doing it too cause why do we live if we can't smile in the process?
I sure love you tons. Know I'm so happy here and wouldn't change this calling, responsibility, and privilege for the world! I'm so stoked to spend Christmas in the service of He who was born, pushed through, and conquered humble circumstances. There is no better life than that in the mission field. Yeah it's tough, but what an adventure. More than anything you learn to rely on the Lord in the littlest of things and He really comes through if you just look! Love you tons! Estoy lleno de ánimos para hablarles este viernes, el 24 de Diciembre a las 8 en la noche!
And this is more for Cam and Syd... but I am perfecting my tree cat skills. We jumped on a bus to head down into the center of this city for groceries. Elder Añorga got in fine and the bus zipped away! Haha I ran a few steps and leaped for a step of salvation and caught hold to the outer handles of the bus. I literally had my toe nails on the outer rim of a step, my arms flexed and hands gripped tight as can be as we flew 15 minutes to the center of town! What an adventure and I simply had a blast smiling and waving down the common towns people with odd looks on their faces! Haha anyway... the tree cat lives on, he conquers mango trees, taxis, busses, and streets turned to oceans with the rain we're getting down here!
Elder Griffin McGinn