Gosh I love Christmas time! Although, it's a ton different here in the heat and without viewing my favorite christmas flicks, mainly ELF, it's been one of the best Christmases ever!! On Saturday we threw a big chirstmas party for all of our area. It was sooo fun! We've been planning it for 3 weeks and we made nice invitations and everything! The ward leaders were very impressed! :) We planned out a dinner of hot dogs and ice cream and our goal was to have a ton of in-active members there. In our area there are at least 25 in-active families! There used to be a branch and now there's maybe 4 active families. It's super sad, but Elder Sears and I have made it our job to activate them all and start the branch back up! I was the MC for the party and I was nervous to talk in front of everyone in Spanish, but it went well! There were 89 people there in total! It was so great! Us four missionaries had santa hats and decorated and it was so fun to have the Christmas spirit! Because before that it hadn't really felt like Christmas at all. We sang a lot of Christmas hyms and watched the video "Joy to the World." I hadn't seen it in years and it almost brought tears to my eyes. You all NEED to watch it again. It's amazing. It's all about the nativity and our Savior Jesus Christ. At the end Elder Sears and I got to share our testimonies and it was a great experience. I think THIS Chritmas more than any other I've seen the true meaning of CHRISTmas. By not being allowed to watch cheesy Christmas movies and serving others all day everyday the week up until today instead of resting at home, I've really learned that it's not about the gifts or the traditions or the tales, it's about remembering our Savior and all that he has done for us. I know everyone always says that, but I don't think I really understood what it meant, or even the real meaning of Christmas, until I gave up all of the other things that hide Christmas and ONLY focused on the Savior and following his example. So this year I challenge you to take a little time and really ponder about your Savior and forget the sugar plums and Christmas Vacations, and for a second really remember Him and all He's done for you.
Interesting Fact: here in Honduras today is Christmas! When I said it's the same holiday just celebrated different I meant it! Here christmas is like a combo of Thanksgiving and New Years. On the 24th everyone eats and huge dinner and then dances and eats more and dances some more until midnight when they light off a ton of fireworks and keep partying. Then on the 25th they sleep in really late and eat leftovers. Super different huh? I'll be going to bed at 10:30 (mission rules) so I won't get to see much of the festivites, but I hear I won't be able to sleep due to all the fireworks! Another tradition they have for Christmas and New Years is called the "Ano Viejo". It's a fake person stuffed with explosives! We've seen them sitting all over the place! To celebrate they explode the person sybolizing leaving behind the last year and starting fresh! Elder Sears says he wants to bring this tradition to the US, but I'm not sure the police would like exploding people...
Cute little kid - I love all the little kids here, but this week I met one that takes the cake! I walked up and he immediately pointed a finger gun at me, I responded by saying "No! porfavor no me robe! No tengo nada, solo mi libro!" He then motioned for the book so I gave it to him and he looked though the pages and said, "Bien" meaning good to go, and let me pass! haha It was so cute.
Funny Story - Last week we were so excited at Stake Conference because we had an investigator show up tht we didn't know was coming! We sat by him and talked a little but he seemed a little strange. During the conference he left saying he was going to get some water and he never came back. We were a little heart broken, but still happy he showed up! We went to his house this week to ask him how he liked it and he said he didn't go... We were like, what?? We relized the guy at the conference wasn't acutally our investigator and he probably thought we were such weirdos! haha I don't blame him for ditching us! We had a laugh about that and felt like such dorks. But hey! All these latins look the same! You can't blame us! haha also trying to say all their names right is a constant struggle....
Thanks to Papooh, Aunt Sarah, and the Brights for the letters this week! Emails are much faster, but it's always fun to get real mail!
Thank you all for all that you do for me! I love you soooo much! My Spanish is getting so much better already! All the natives say I speak really well. It's funny they all tease me and say I speak well but I can't understand anything! Which is true, but litttle by little I'm getting it, so thanks for all the prayers!
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!!
PS - I saw a guy wearing a Rockies shirt the other day! I was soooo excited and I said "Go Rockies!" and then realized he probably had no idea what the shirt meant or what I was talking about...whoops! Adios!!!
Sunburn from the hike on p-day last week. He said he wore sunscreen every day in the beginning but now he doesn't need it anymore, this evidence suggests otherwise! I told him it was snowing here and he said, "I'd kill for some cold. I've forgotten the feeling of not sweating or feeling dirty! I wipe the sweat off my forehead and my shirt sleeve is just brown... yuck!"
Up in the attic trying to catch the iguana. He runs around up there during the day and knocks dirt down onto all of their stuff. Every night they have to shake the dirt off of their sheets and sweep the floors because there is so much dirt. They have almost caught the iguana a few times but always chicken out when they get close to him. He is super fast! One night Tyler trapped him in this one area of the roof by putting a bunch of rocks in the way of the exit. The iguana made such a racket running back and forth that they couldn't sleep so Tyler got up and moved the rocks out of the way so it could escape. They aren't sure where he gets in the house, because they have put rocks by every hole they can find, but somehow he always finds his way in!
Fried plantinos - yummy!
Invite to their Christmas party. He was very proud of this.
Pretending to be missionaries in Figi. Tyler's companion has a friend serving there and they were replicating some of the pictures the friend sent.
Tyler gets all the chicks!
Add donkey to the list of animals he is converting if you are keeping track.
Fixing up the house they will be moving to. They split the area and this house is closer to where they go each day. They are moving in with a couple in their ward so they put up a wall and will have their own bathroom and possibly air-conditioning! This is only the second service project they have done, even though he said there are many homes that could use some remodeling. I told him I didn't have a lot of confidence in him fixing up houses and he said, "Hahaha well the guy offerd to rent half of his house out to us and it's a lot closer to our area so we took it. It just needs to renovations. And I could build just as good a house as a lot of these people. Most are just sticks and tin! Very very very poor mommy."
Tyler was so excited to have his first coconut. He said he is all ready to be on the television show Survivor! But the machete makes me nervous.
First taste of fresh coconut!
"We went to a wedding! It was super nice for Honduras standards! We could hear the music and dancing from our house when we were trying to sleep and I just wanted to go back soooo bad and dance the night away!! Opum Gangum style was playing realy loud! haha I've already heard it 4 different times today! They're crazy about that song!" It was the wedding of two members of their ward. They stayed until 9:28 p.m. and then ran all the way home in order to make curfew. They live around the corner from the church. The running perked up a small pack of dogs who chased them, so Tyler beat them off with a Book of Mormon! Here is what he says about the wedding.
Not sure where he got the cotton candy.
He's really excited about the temple opening there. He said, "Elder Udorf and Holland are coming to dedicate it and they might talk to the mission! How cool would that be!?!?!" I assured him they would speak to the missionaries.
Riding in the back of a truck. Tyler finally admitted how many dangerous ways they get around. It's really cheap to take a taxi but there are no seat belts and often you have to hold the door to keep it closed. Please pray for his safety!
Decorating for the Christmas party.
They borrowed the lights and Christmas hats from someone.
Honduran hot dogs! Party food....
Tyler and his roommates. We asked how long his companion, Elder Sears, has been out and Tyler responded: "He's got 3 changes more that me, so 1 year 4 months! Did I not tell you we were both in Helaman Halls together! We just never met each other. I probably passed him in the cannon center 10000 times! Usually you stay in an area 4 to 7 months. I will be with him for 6 more weeks for sure. But he's awesome and I'd be comps with him the whole mission if I could!"
"Christmas Tree" with all the special things they bought
to celebrate and packages from home.