Monday, January 14, 2013

Its Christmas Eve! or the "noche buena" here in Guatemala | Week 12

Que hondas!

I hope you guys are having a good Christmas Eve! Whew kind of a crazy week but it was good! So first off I got your package on Wednesday, thanks so much. Seriously I was like a little kid on Christmas morning. Mom you’re so creative, twelve days in the package, I love it! And thanks for the music and the speaker, which just made our Christmas. We have been listening to Christmas music nonstop in the house. Since it's all the music you would play in the house it feels so good. Thanks for everything all the books and stuff I loved it all so much. I love you guys. I’m so excited to talk to you guys tomorrow, honestly that’s probably the best Christmas present I could ever wish for anyway.

So a little bit about my week. We have been working really hard in our area. The work was a little slow here a lot of people are busy during the holidays. We had one night where we called literally fourteen members to have someone to leave with, crazy! We are working really hard to find some new investigators and especially families. Some tough moments this week. It’s hard when we show up at all our appointments and they are all gone. Sometimes I look at Elder G like "what is this?" "Welcome to Guatemala Elder Hughes" Ha! Elder G is awesome we get along really well. I feel so blessed to have him as my Trainer. We work really well together. We did find three new families this week which was awesome. The lord has led us to these families so we are going to teach them next week.

I have a couple good stories this week. We were heading to a ward activity on Saturday. The bus was packed as usual. All of a sudden even more people got on the bus and Elder G and I were stuck in the middle. I mean literally stuck. We were holding our backpacks above our heads and pretty much standing on one leg. We were laughing so hard because we could not get off the bus! Yeah so twenty minutes later enough people got off so we could barely muscle our way off! We were cracking up. The image of us stuck on the bus twenty minutes after we were supposed to get off was hilarious! So we had to grab a bus back the other direction to finally make it to the church. Another experience I had this week as we were walking to that same activity we saw a lady with only one leg and no shoes crawling up the stairs out of a colony area. Of course we ran over and helped this lady. We asked her where she was going she said "Oh to the church" We asked…Are you a member? Yes she was...Wow ! Just the image of this old woman crawling up the stairs with no shoes and broken crutches. I will never forget it. Elder G and I carried her the rest of the way to the church. I have never seen so much faith in action. I can never ever say it is too hard for me or any other person to go to church. I have seen people with this faith already on the mission and they just inspire me so much! There are so many small experiences that we have every day in this work it’s amazing I wish I could share all of them but that would be impossible.

Wednesday we had a Zone Christmas activity which was awesome. We went up early to an area near us where our zone spent two hours in a shelter for the elderly. Amazing experience.These people are so great! I took some pictures so I will send those. We talked with them and sang Christmas songs too. After the service we had a meeting with President Watts and Hermana Watts. They fed us lunch and we got to watch our yearly movie Finding Nemo! It was pretty weird to see a movie but we loved it. Later President Watts talked to us. Wow he is such a great and spiritually powerful man! I love the Watts so much! Our mission is in a very exciting time right now. This next change we have 41 new missionaries coming and only 10 going home so it’s going to be crazy! It looks like we are going to open up some new areas in the mission where there have never been missionaries before! This means we could be way out in the middle of the jungle and the mountains Ha! I came into this mission during a really exciting time. 

I am doing well. Honestly it’s a bit harder this time of year to be away from home but I know what I’m doing is so important and I’m learning and growing a lot. It really is amazing to be a missionary during Christmas time. All the gifts and Christmas traditions are great, but true joy comes from serving and doing what the Savior would do. This season is so amazing. I have spent this week thinking and pondering about the Savior and this Christmas season. We have all received the greatest gift, the gift of repentance. Because of the Saviors infinite act of love for all of mankind. It’s amazing and simple. We can pray, repent, be forgiven, and change. The unfortunate thing is many times this gift gets left under the tree unopened. Why is this? The greatest most amazing gift of the atonement sits under the Christmas tree collecting dust. This is exactly why the Savior commands us to repent. Open the gift!!! It’s not always easy but I promise we can receive peace and true joy as we open this gift. So that is my invitation this Christmas season is to open not only the physical gifts under the tree but to open the Saviors gift to all of us. The Savior was born in a humble setting in a manager. Similarly we can only symbolically be born again and cleansed when we humble ourselves. That’s why it’s hard for people to unwrap the greatest gift, it takes humble hands to get the paper off. 

I love you guys so much! I’m so excited to talk tomorrow morning. Enjoy this Christmas Eve and tell everyone and all the family that I love them all! Feliz Navidad

Elder Hughes

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