Hola amigos y familiares!
This Christmas has been one of giving, service, peace, joy, and love. Perhaps I'm not back home for the holidays but the feeling of Christmas is here. Merry Christmas everyone!
Wednesday night, all the elders in our zone came to Quiché and stayed the night. Bright and early the next morning we headed out to Huehuetenango for a multi-zone conference with Elder Duncan from the Seventy. We cleaned our suits, shined our shoes, and got there with plenty of time to spare. When Elder Duncan walked in, all the elderes y hermanas stood. Shortly after we had the opportunity to shake Elder Duncan´s hand and talk with him for a few seconds. After a short message from Hermana Smith as well as a few words from Presidente Smith, we got to hear Elder Duncan. He started by reading off statistics, the point being that the majority of the members are in North America, the other largest portion in Central/South America and the rest in the other continents of the world. He also read off numbers of the people baptized and the people attending Sacrament meeting every Sunday. The difference in numbers was startling. There is a hastening of the work and LOTS of work to do. The churches efforts in the past have been good, but now with the expectations higher there needs to be a change. Over many hours he talked about the need to find to teach. And then after we find, what is our message? Faith in Jesus Christ and true repentance. In turn, this will lead to baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Already we've applied the things we learned at the conference. We have been able to see the difference and the fruits from following the leaders of the church. I know they are called of God and receive revelation.
Other random happenings of the week
1) Elder Golledge and I have been going to the ward choir practices this past week. He sings and I play the piano. Saturday, there was a ward activity where the choir performed a Christmas presentation of Christ's birth. The narrators read a few lines then the choir sang a Christmas hymn. Like we practiced, Elder Golledge sang and I played the piano. It turned out really well! It was nice to focus on Jesus Christ.
2) We celebrated Hna. Blanca's birthday. We frosted a few muffins and sang. Like the tradition here, she took the first bite and then her face ended up in the cake. Afterwards she kissed all her kids with her frosted face. It was really funny. We also gave her a small gift. Guess what it was? PEANUT BUTTER! (thanks mom for sending those little packets) She loved it.
3) At the branch activity, they served tamales. Apparently that's a big thing down here during this time of year. Can't wait to have that every day this week!
I hope you all feel the Spirit of Christmas this season. I know Jesus Christ lives. Les felicito una buena Navidad y prospero año!