¡Feliz Navidad! ¡FELIZ NAVIDAD! ¡Feliz Navidad, prospero año y felicidad!
I can't believe that Christmas is actually here! We have been having so much fun getting ready for it here in Chile. I did actually get Abby's music to work, and all four of us in the house have been enjoying it SO MUCH, so I want to send her a GINORMOUS THANK YOU! Even though I am far away and it doesn't quite feel like Christmas, the music really helps me to make it seem real. Also, you mentioned seeing part of the concert. The Beecrofts (one of the senior couples here in Osorno) videoed (videod? video-ed? lol) parts of it and they told us to tell our parents to look them up on Facebook. Bruce Beecroft and Jill Beecroft. They said they both took different pictures and videos. We love the Beecrofts. When Hermana Brown is feeling kind of down, she really likes to talk to Hermana Beecroft because she is so sweet. We are going over to their house on Christmas to use their computer to talk to you guys.
This week has been kind of complicated. We had a ton of rehearsals for the choir concerts, and Hermana Brown has been dealing with bronchitis. Since we live with the mission nurse, she pretty much sentenced us to be inside our house so she could rest when there weren't rehearsals. So it's been a little rough...we haven't been able to keep meeting more people and sharing the message. Our ward is not super welcoming. The members are very needy. We are still trying to figure out how we can best help them. But long story short, they have not invited us to do things with them for Christmas or Christmas Eve. So we are very thankful that the Beecrofts invited us over!
The choir was so wonderful. It was a lot of rehearsals, but it was so much fun to sing in the plaza on Friday, then go to a little town called Rio Negro on Saturday and sing in the plaza there, and do a concert in the stake center on Sunday. The brother who organized the choir was in my other ward when I was in Osorno last time, and so he knew a little bit about my musical background and asked me to help sing soprano. He even asked me to participate in an octet of "The Lord's Prayer" as a soprano. But then on Sunday when it came time for the concert, the other soprano was sick and couldn't come...so it was my turn to be the only soprano. I had practiced, but I was still pretty nervous for the high A flat to come out pretty. Well...it turned out really well!! I had so many people come up to congratulate me afterwards. They were all shocked at my voice. I have to say, I was somewhat shocked myself. I'm so used to being an alto. But it was such a fun way for me to stretch my talent. The Beecrofts got a video of it. It was really fun, too, because at the different choir events I saw so many people who I have served and loved in the past year. Since 4 out of my 5 areas have been within a one hour radius, I see people I know all the time. It makes me feel like I really have done a good job on this mission when people are excited to see me and tell me that they still remember when I was in their ward/branch. We also got to get to know the sisters in our zone really well with all the rehearsals!
We've had some fun Christmas activities as a mission, too. We had a devotional and a dinner with President and Hermana Obeso on Friday, and it was really nice. They gave us all some Christmas candy and we sang some Christmas carols together. Then today we got together with the hermanas from three zones and decorated brownies, cupcakes and cookies and watched Home Alone. It was really fun.
This Christmas is so crazy for me because it means that I only have 2 months left of my mission. WHAT? But I think you are right that the Lord needs me to have my mind be clear for the mission. Because every time I want to pray about something important in my life, I get the feeling that I just need to wait; that I can pray about those things and figure them out when I go home. So I am striving to give everything I can to help here! I know that there are people here who need my love and service. And I know that it is going to get better. I want to help the ward, find investigators, and help Hermana Brown with her Spanish. She's been really frustrated because she can hardly understand anything. I am praying a lot for her!
This year I have not made the time to send Christmas cards and presents to everyone :( But I really do hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas! I hope that you can remember and feel that the light of Christmas is the light of Christ, and that He is the light and hope of the world. The joy we feel in our families, in our homes, and at this sacred time of year is all thanks to His love for us. I hope that we can all let that love fill us up a little more this year, so that we can offer the love to others.