Tuesday, January 3, 2012
December 19, 2011
This week was real real good and diarrhea free. Woot woot! The whole sick from the water bottle episode ended up being so funny. One of the things I love love about Argentina is that there is such little shame. If someone has a problem, they don't hide it away, but make sure other people know. Lots of the time, I am surprised that people trust me enough by me simply saying "Hola!" to tell me that they can't quit smoking and their son is in jail and they had lots of issues with their parents and that they don't particularly like eggplant. It's so funny and I think it's a characteristic that we all definitely need to adapt. One result of this lack of shame ws that every member of the ward knew that my intestines had been on express turbo mode a few, brief moments after I sat on the toilet for the first time. Hermanas from the Relief Society kept on coming up to me on Sunday and asking things like "Are you having more solid bathroom time?" with all the sincerity in the world. I felt a little twinge of embarrassment at first, but then just thought it was funny and reveled in how much I love Argenitna.
This week we had the baptism of the Cordoba/Larrea family. It was way too good. The last few baptisms we have had have been so hectic and stressful for me. It seems like something always goes wrong right before a baptism that sends me running around like a crazy person. This baptism was different. I have been teaching the Cordoba Family for a solid 4 months and with 4 different companions. They changed their minds about 700 times and I had to remind them of the answers that had received to their prayers as to whether the church is true about 1400 times. It has been such a long teaching process, but in the end, it all makes sense and I feel giddy and so happy about it. I feel like there where so many problems in the teaching process that heavenly Father gave me a break and let the baptismal service go smoothly. As the family lined up to enter the baptismal font, such a powerful wave came over us and everyone started strangely giggling. The spirit has lots of different ways to manifest itself. The dad of the family, Modesto, is a really serious man. He rarely cracks a smile and it took me about 2 months to convince him to let me give him a hug. As Modesto saw his wife and daughter get baptized, Elder Jolley whispered to me, "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh look at Modesto." I looked over and Modesto was kind of bouncing up and down on his toes and giggling like a little girl. At this moment I thought, "What are we doing to these people?" It crazy. It made me laugh so hard. There is a different feeling to every baptism, and the feeling at this baptism was one of giggling full out, butterflies in the stomach, glee. Genuine, genuine glee. Way too good. The family was so happy and we were too. Baptisms are all incredible, but when a family makes the decision together, its something so powerful. I feel like more than any other thing in the gospel, I have such a testimony of the family. It's the best. Literally.
This Christmas is going to be a little different for me. I'm so excited for it, but I'm gonna miss the family a lot. My brother Josh emailed me the other day and told me that the Christmases you have on your mission are "so pure and so simple". That's a perfect way to describe it. In Argentina, no one is really sure why they celebrate Christmas. I asked lots of grown, intelligent adults why we have Christmas, and they have told me so happily and surely, "Fireworks!" Christmas in Argentina is basically two days when all the families get together, get trashed, and shoot of fireworks. For this reason, we as missionaries have to be in the pinch by 6:00 on the 24th and 25th. If any missionary is caught with fireworks, he is immediately sent home. Guess I will be a content observer this Christmas. Our plans for Christmas are to stay in the pinch, sing Christmas songs, and then head out on the roof. Our house is the tallest house in the area, and you can see practically to the ocean from our pinch because Buenos Aires is so flat. We will be staying out on the roof and observing the fireworks from all sides. I am perfectly satisfied with that. I will be making sure this Christmas to focus on its real meaning, that being the importance of Christ, and celebrating his first coming into the world. Purely simple.
Merry Christmas! All is well. Life is good.