December 26, 2009 (The Day After Christmas)
Since we got some good talking in yesterday, I’ve decided to send you a ton of pictures today and just let you know what’s going on here in Antofagasta. Just last Saturday, we had an awesome baptismal service. As a mission, we had a goal to have 4 baptisms for every companionship within the last three months of the year (October-December). In Antofagasta Centro, we reached the goal last Saturday and had our 8th baptism (there are 2 companionships working in Antofagasta Centro). I had the wonderful chance to baptize one of our converts, Paola Vega, who is from Iquique. She has developed a really powerful testimony of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I am very grateful for the privilege I had to help her find this joy in her life. Today, in just 2 short hours, we’re also going to have a baptismal service for Javiera Jamet, an awesome and smart 11-year-old investigator who we have taught for a few months now. The field really is white, ready to harvest. I love being a missionary and having such awesome experiences!
On Monday, I got a call from our mission president with a special assignment for the morning – to drive some of the sister missionaries to their Christmas activity at “La Playa Escondida” (The Hidden) near Antofagasta. I went along with Elder Madrigal, Marcelino (the President’s son) and the mission president’s wife (Hermana Urra). When we got to the beach, I miscalculated the density of the sand along the shore, and sure enough, the little Ford Ranger I was driving got stuck in the sand! So, while the sister had their Christmas activity, we also had a fun activity digging the truck out of the sand! At the end, we finally got the truck out. We ended up tying rope to the hitch of the truck and hooking it up to the President’s Explorer. When this didn’t work, we found out we just needed a little more lift in the back, so my companion drove as I lifted up the back of the truck with all my might. It was lots of fun. :)
On Christmas Eve, for the “Noche Buena,” we had an awesome Turkey dinner and ate until we could hardly move. Then we opened up gifts from our Secret Santa. Elder Romero was my Secret Santa, and he gave me a great little leather wallet and pocket notebook with my name burned into it, along with pictures from Antofagasta. It was great! Later that night, back in our own apartment, we all opened up the gifts we received from our house and from members. It went really great! Thank you so much for the package that you sent, the sweet backpack and awesome shoes, and all the treats and socks and love! It really was everything I could ever need as a missionary – thank you!
On Christmas day, we went out teaching, caroling, and visiting with members and investigators at our Ward Christmas Party. That also went awesome, though we were again given a ton of food. It seems like we have enough goodies now to last until the end of next year! We are really blessed in the gospel and as missionaries here in Chile.
Today, we had a fun activity at the beach as the office staff. We went and played with water guns, volleyball, soccer, and all that jazz. Please forgive me for the picture that’s a little scandalous, the one of me almost diving into the water at the beach. I was really just washing all the sand off my face after playing volleyball... :)
Well, I have had an amazing week. I’m now off to teach and preach again! Thank you for always being so awesome; we really do have the greatest family that I could ever ask for. We have been blessed exceedingly by a loving Heavenly Father. Let’s all live in Thanksgiving for what we have been given, remembering always the pure and simple truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I know that we’ll be able to live together forever in love and happiness. This is the greatest blessing we could ever ask for!