Hello family and friends!
I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and will be having a fantastic New Years this week! Christmas down here was unlike anything i´ve ever experienced... and not just because it is HOT and humid! We had a great dinner Christmas Eve with our neighbors who live in the house behind us (we had to be "in the pension" at 6:30) and watched Joy to the World and sang some Christmas hymns. After that it was straight to bed at 10:30... I slept really great until midnight when it sounded like we were being bombed! At first when I woke up I thought it was just a really big Thunderstorm. The fireworks here are super loud, and not even that exciting to look at, and EVERYONE was outside doing them. Apparently New Years is going to be worse. We watched them for a couple minutes and then went back to bed and did our best to try and sleep.
My first Christmas in the mission will probably be a day I will always remember, and luckily it will always be a GOOD memory! We had our interviews with President Asay in Banfield (have to take a bus and a train to get there) that morning which went really well, he is an amazing man! After we finished up with interviews and district meeting we went to the mission home a block away from the chapel and had a Christmas FEAST with President Asay and his wife as well as his sons family who is visiting for the holidays! I´m not going to lie one of my favorite things about being in the mission home is being able to walk around in socks ON CARPET! The food of course was fantastic, everything a Christmas feast should be. We had ham, potatoes, different salads, desserts... and most importantly cheesecake and pumpkin pie! We concluded our little celebration having each of the districts share a brief message about Jesus Christ to celebrate the reason for the season as well as singing some Christmas hymns. We also had a quick white elephant gift exchange which was very entertaining with a group of 20 missionaries. I was very grateful that Pres. Asay let us into their home to share that special day with him and his family. There is nothing like Christmas at home, but then again there is nothing like Christmas in the mission either! When we finished up in Banfield it was time to be back in the pension and we got to call our families! It was so good getting to talk to all of you and hearing your voices! I´m already looking forward to getting to call again for Mothers Day!
The past couple days we´ve been working really hard to catch up on the work we missed out on during the holidays. We have some great investigators and we are going to have a couple more baptisms this Saturday! Jorge received the Aaronic Priesthood this last week and hopefully will be blessing the sacrament next week! It has been amazing to see how the gospel has changed and blessed his life. This week we watched The Testaments with him and his family, and the wife seems a lot more receptive now! The only challenge now is to get them to church! This Sunday I also gave my first talk in the mission! Luckily it was a very easy first talk... 3-5 minutes about missionary work! I wasn´t nervous at all and it went really well! The Branch Pres. wife complimented me on my spanish afterwards as well, so that made me feel pretty good too! Hopefully we will have some more luck getting people to help us with the missionary work here in the Branch as we still don´t have any ward missionaries!
That´s all for today! I hope you all have a fantastic week and a Happy New Years! This is the last week of my second transfer so there could be some news about some changes next week!
¡Les Quiero Mucho!
Elder Ian Wheelhouse