Things are going great this week, not much really to report that I can’t tell you in the call this week. I have been thinking and even though I love Kolby a ton and can´t wait to see him, If we can´t organize having a little bit of our calls this Thursday together then it doesn´t bother me too much, it is looking like it would take a ton of coordinating, and I don´t want it to be a stressful occasion. I will probably be calling more around 5:45 Lima time, just to be sure. We are going to the Branch President´s house to do the call, but we are going at the same time as the other two elders, and so I’m not sure exactly in what order we will be calling. I figure I´ll give the priority to Elder T (this is his first call...after 5 months).
As for Lima Christmas traditions, there’s turkey for dinner, and hot chocolate to drink, with Fruitcake (panetón), they sing Christmas carols in church, but there´s only like two songs that they sing outside of the Christmas hymns, so Christmas radio gets a little stale. They sing "Navidad, Navidad, Hoy es Navidad" to the tune of jingle bells, and they also sing feliz navidad. There´s a lot of versions of the two of them but that´s about all there is. I am so grateful for the English language and the many many songwriters that help us enjoy a variety of secular and religious Christmas melodies!
R and L are starting to take a greater interest in the baptism we have planned for the 10th of January. When we first put the date, they were a little skeptical. They didn’t want to say no, because they really do see themselves in the church in the future, but they didn’t want to say yes either because they aren´t sure about entering so soon. This last week, we had a family night with them and after watching the Finding Faith in Christ video, Hermana R started to ask questions about baptism, the first real interest she´s shown in a few weeks. She asked about if baptism has to be done laying back into the water and then if they were to get baptized if it would be the three of them on the same day. The last question she asked is what has us all excited. She asked "Qué necesito hacer para prepararme para un bautismo?" AHHH! It was so exciting to see that she is starting to accept the idea and try to prepare herself. She is really the key in this family because she had the most doubts due to her heavy Catholic background.
This week is D´s baptism. He has come a long way since having just a simple desire to be baptized without any real understanding of the ordinance to now when he understands why and a lot of the requirements to get to that point. His mom went to the mountain region this last week because his grandma is sick, and usually that would have meant that he wouldn´t go to church because being deaf it´s not really that much of a draw to him without his mom who can explain things without him having to read lips. We passed by his house in the morning and asked him to come to church with his brother and at first he said no, but then he said he would come to show that he wants to be baptized. He came and even stayed after his brother left after the second hour. Hopefully the branch members catch on that they need to help him become an independent church member to keep him active.
Tell dad that when I read about Cuba it reminded me of the conference we had with Elder Christiansen a year and a half ago. He talked about organizing the first branch in Cuba and visiting the first time with the Book of Mormon to tell them that it was their manual, the second time he came, they were all in suits and ties. He asked what made the difference from the first to the second visit, and they said that in the first visit they saw that a general authority wears a suit and tie, so when he came again, they already knew that that is what the Lord expects in His church. We have so much to learn from the general authorities, and sometimes we take for granted to lessons we can learn in how they interact with people when they visit different parts of the church in the world.
I love you all, can´t wait to talk on Thursday and I hope that everything is going well on Christmas prep. Try not to spoil Melissa before I get home, I´ve got to do my share as well :).