Monday, December 19, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Happy holidays from Sonora! Everyone has their big jackets, beanies, gloves, scarves, and it is a CHLLING 60 degrees f outside!

This week there are many things planned like ward parties, christmas dinner with members, service projects, and new people progressing! After Guadalupe's baptism, we started focusing our efforts on his sister, Selene. She is progressing just fine and loves coming to church every Sunday. That is fine with us because getting people to church is always the toughest commitment! We are planning for her to be baptized at the end of the month, but she doesnt want to set a date because she doesnt like a lot of pressure. It is really different teaching her than when we taught her brother because we could put a little more pressure with him and asked him really good questions. So now we are learning to adapt our lessons to a different style of learning.

This Christmas a family invited us over for dinner. But christmas in mexico is a little different! the 25th is a day of NOTHING. Everyone sleeps. Because from about 6 o clock on the 24th until around 6 am the 25, its a party! On the 24th, we eat dinner, the smash open a piñata. Everyone opens up presents after that, and (the non members) start drinking. The 25th will be the sabbath, so the time in between everything, we are going to go around to all the members and sing them christmas songs with santa hats and everything :)

Thinking back on the whole year that has almost passed brought a lot of things to mind. This time last year I was in a classroom with a bunch of other pale gringos, learning spanish. It was actually COLD with snow. We waited for every sunday and tuesday night be cause thats when the 70's and apostles came to talk to us. I remember I didnt like practicing my teaching skills at ALL because it was tough.

But now, I am in my area, with my companion. In charge of if the ward has progress as far as new members. The area can be rough, and the people dont always get that Joseph Smith was not the same thing a Mormon Pope! Now I long to teach, because it can be tough to get the chance to find someone new who really has the desire to follow Christ. And this year is the only year of my life that I was a missionary every single one of the 365 days. Next year, at this time, I will be in Hermosillo, waiting for the plane to take me home.

Oh, how I do NOT want to go back home! Sure the mission is rough and the challenges are like I havent ever had to face. But I would MUCH rather be here in the mission than back at home. I love you all, mom, dad, cass, and claud, but the mission is the best.

This past week, I studied a bit about the Priesthood and how critical it is for God's church. The put it in a few words, without the Priesthood, Our Father wouldnt be able to move the church. There would be no progress. Nothing would happen. God needs worthy, clean men to hold the priesthood to be able to benefit and usher the progress and growth. Then this sunday, Guadalupe was conferred the Aaronic Priesthood and will be prepared to baptize his own sister at the end of the month :) Next month, he will be conferred the Melchizedek Priesthood. But to be in the room as another man is changed into a tool in God's hands is a very unique experience that hasnt happened very many times in my mission. But I could share with him the experience I had when I baptized my own sister with the same priesthood power, and he wants to do the same.

There are miracles here! I didnt think I would be where I am after a year, but I kind of did know it all along. I didnt know what would happen, but I know I would be doing everything for the Savior. The best way to pay him back in a VERY small way for his sacrifice is serve the mission for 2 years. Everything is for him.

This christmas, lets do like the Wise men did and follow the Light as it leads us to Christ. (matthew chapter 2). Lets follow the spirit to and remember Christ, not getting TO caught up in the hustle of the season with sales, parties, dinners, presents. The Wise Men passed through the cities and even visited King Herod, but not even a King could differ the Wise Men from reaching their goal. Coming unto Christ. He is the center of all we do.

The church is true, and MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!!!!!

Elder Marsh

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