Sunday, December 18, 2016

Let’s Get the Party Started

"Christmas lights" in Uruguay

December 18, 2016

Look how dry it is. We need some rain!
It’s Christmas time although it doesn’t feel like it as we sit in meetings with sweat rolling down the middle of our back.  It has been real hot.  You can see by the picture that we have not had any rain for over a month.  When we arrived on December 29th last year it was lush and green everywhere.  It stayed that way even during June and July.  But lately, it has been real dry and so as a farm boy; I am worried about the rain for the crops.  They don’t have any irrigation systems so Mother Nature has to do it.  It is raining a little today and I see some rain in the forecast so we may get a little this week.

Elder Montiel taking the "siesta" on the way home from the bank.
He's Argentine, what else can I say?

After change week, we needed to spend time in the office getting the books up to date.  It is amazing how much work that takes.  We also had a few trips to take things for the missionaries so our week was pretty busy.  Probably the number one highlight of the week was our “charla” or discussion with Humberto and Cristina on Tuesday night.  Cristina has expressed a strong desire to get baptized so we are attending the charlas with Sister Nava and Sister Anderson.  It was really neat to help explain and bear testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We had a good evening that included treats; we are talking about Uruguay aren’t we.  Our friendship with Humberto and Cristina continues to grow and she understands better all the time.  We are really excited at how well she is doing after her stroke in July.

Friday was the start of party time.  We attended the Malvin Ward Christmas party with Humberto and Cristina.  Parties in Uruguay are quite interesting.  It was scheduled to start at 8:00 P. M. on Friday night.  That’s a little late for me but they don’t seem to mind.  We got there a little before 8:00 P.M. and you can see by the picture that there were not many people there.  About 8:45 P.M., the Bishop showed up and at 9:15 P.M. the food and most of the people showed up.  We Gringos could get uptight about this but the Uruguayos don’t mind at all.  We could learn a lot from them.  After we ate all the roasted chicken we could shove in our mouths, we had the Primary Program which included Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus, Shepards, wise men and even lambs.  It was really cute.  The singing was happy and really helped us get the Christmas spirit even though we still had the sweat running down the middle of our backs.

 After the Primary program we went into the Chapel and listened to President Eyring’s talk from the Christmas devotional.  He does such a good job and I must say that we will include Samuel the Lamanite in our Christmas Nativity from now on.  By now it’s after 11:00 P.M.  We finished up the program by eating ice cream.  We had a great time and got home about midnight.  That would be okay if Saturday was our P-day.  Except, we had to get up early to iron shirts and get ready to go to Castillos.

We had plenty of food and smiles

We have not been to Castillos for over a month due to the Capilla Abiertas so we were excited to go.  Lunch with Hermana Narda was excellent as usual.  We had salad and milanesas.  After lunch we took the list of people to visit and went to work.  We visited several people and had some good visits.  We did not have too much time as we had to go help Elder Jensen and Elder Castillo get ready for the branch Christmas dinner.  Renee made pulled pork for the meat and the members brought other foods and we had a tremendous meal.  Barbecued pulled pork is not your typical Uruguayan food.  Several of the sisters were a little tentative about eating it. The Elders and brethren didn’t seem to have any trouble wolfing it down.  Most of them had two plates.   It wasn’t long before they were all asking for the recipe.  Too bad Renee doesn’t have one.  She just puts stuff in until it tastes good.  She also took the cranberry cake that her family made famous.  Masi, who sat next to me, had three pieces.  I guess he liked it.  This party got over about 10:00 P.M.  It really helped that everyone pitched in to help clean up.  That up us at the hotel at a little after 11:00 P.M.  A little late for a missionary.  Then we had to be up at 6:30 A. M. to get ready for Church.  I really enjoyed the siesta this afternoon.

Elder Jensen is the new Branch President.  We spent six months with him as a secretary in the office so we know him well.  We are excited to see him and Elder Castillo work together.  They did a good job organizing the party and getting people to attend.  This morning, Elder Jensen asked me to speak for a few minutes.  As I spoke a little bit about Christmas a real warm feeling came over me.  We really love the people of Castillos.  They are our friends.  We may have struggles and trials in Castillos, but they are our struggles and trials as we work together.  It is not easy but it is wonderful to be able to serve in this wonderful town.

We have been pondering and praying a lot lately for Castillos.  We plan to have a special fast on fast Sunday for the people in Castillos so that they can have experiences that will open their hearts and help them embrace the Gospel.  We have already seen many miracles here and fully expect to see a miracle in Castillos.

We are excited to get ready for Christmas.  We miss our family terribly.  It is only by our faith in our Savior Jesus Christ that we are able to do this.  We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas.
Gordon and Renee

1 comment:

Please keep comments positive! Gordon and Renee are missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This blog is meant to be a fun way for them to communicate with their friends and neighbors back home.