Hello!! Merry Christmas Eve!!! Isn't that so great!!?! I'm excited. I know Christmas will be different this year for me, but it'll be so good! I'm excited to be able to video chat with all of you tomorrow at around 10 give or take! But thanks for all your love and support and everything always. It means so much to me.
Okay... so this week was...weird haha. It was just not a normal week at all. Last Monday was a preparation day which was lazy since we weren't feeling the greatest. On Tuesday Hermana Mulliner was stomach sick still and so we stayed inside all day long (I actually got pretty far on my Plan of Salvation/Gospel of Christ board game haha! On Wednesday we went to the temple. On Thursday we had weekly planning. On Friday we had exchanges. On Saturday we had an exchange within an exchange (our cool little Inception moment haha!) and a branch party for the Spanish YSA branch. On Sunday we had church and Hermana Mulliner still wasn't feeling that great (we're not sure we trust the food at ward party events anymore). Today is Christmas Eve and preparation day ends at 6 and we're going to eat dinner at Alba's house but it is a rule we have to be back in the apartment by 7 because it is Christmas Eve and they want us to be safe (we're supposed to do a deep clean, but our apartment is really clean, so we're going to do normal cleaning and then when we're done we'll play games or listen to our Christmas music or watch some of the church DVDs we have or something like that). Then tomorrow is Christmas and we're going to talk with our families. We're not allowed to do some parts of missionary work like finding and knocking doors and stuff, but we are planning on doing work with less actives or recent converts or people like that. Thus, our number of normal lessons has been very weird this week definitely!!
About the temple first of all, it was so great!!! The Los Angeles Temple is so beautiful and HUGE too. It is also one of the temples where there are different rooms for every step and all the rooms were hand painted. It was good because it keeps you actively engaged the whole time and helps me mentally distinguish all the different steps. I loved that the Creation room had stars on the ceiling that twinkled! It was so pretty. It made me laugh that the Telestial room was basically painted up like New Mexico. I was like, "that's okay, I still love New Mexico!" One thing that I realized this temple trip was that the endowment process is all about missionary work! Think about it... there are people out there who are looking for the true messengers from God to help them know what they have to do to return back to Heavenly Father. That is what we can bring to them! But I just loved going and I feel this newly renewed connection with Heavenly Father; the huge love he has for me and that the work I have done is acceptable in his eyes. I feel like I've renewed my commitment to go forward with my mission doing my very best to live up to everything!
On the way home from the temple, Hermana Espinoza decided to take us the scenic route so that we could get to know California a little bit. So we drove through Beverly Hills (those houses are unbelievably nice). We weren't near it, but at a distance we saw the Hollywood sign up on the hill. We drove through Bel Air. We drove through the mountains surrounding the San Fernando Valley so we got to see the whole valley from above. It was crazy cool and now I can say I've been in those places!!
With the Elders they go on exchanges with the district leader at least once a transfer and the district leaders exchange with the zone leaders and the zone leaders with the assistants to the president. They do exchanges to help you get more experience with different companions and different areas and you can also get trained to make sure you are doing all the little daily things the Preach My Gospel way. But since President Hall's come in, I'd never been on a sister exchange. But President Hall figured out how he'd like to conduct those and so this transfers those were started up. He has a set of sisters who are basically in charge of all the exchanges for all the Spanish sisters and a set for all the English sisters and so we just exchange with them. So last Friday was our first exchange and it ended up that Hermana Zepeda came here and Hermana Mulliner went to North Hollywood. I was so excited to get to spend that time with Hermana Zepeda because she is so great. She has these powerful stories that she'd tell me about her conversion story and the things that are still hard for her even to this day and everything like that. It was great to be able to bring her to several of the big investigators so they could hear her testify so powerfully about that.
On Saturday we had our little exchange within an exchange because Hermana Fish got a urinary tract infection but they had some important lessons that morning. So I got to go to the urgent care with Hermana Fish and Hermana Zepeda went on an exchange with Hermana Vila for the lessons. It was fun and all, but it made me laugh how the exchange didn't really end up going as planned.
Antonio is right on track to get baptized next week and so we are so excited for him! Once again, it has all seemed too easy, but we feel like he's made all the changes. He loves going to church and he loves the missionaries and members. He keeps all of his commitments and he is so great! He has met with missionaries in the past evidently and at this point in time he is just so prepared. We love meeting with him too because he will just laugh and joke with us about the silly situations that happen like how he lives in a teeny house he is renting behind the house and so we always bring chairs since he only has 3 chairs and we have to bring members with us to all the lessons. He is just so great!
I have to tell you about the silly situation last night at dinner. There is this Hermana in our ward who has such a beautiful and strong testimony. She is one of those super strong examples that everyone in the ward looks up to and she is just such a great speaker and teacher. It is interesting being in this calling as a missionary, though, because everyone just opens up and tells you everything that's ever happened in their lives. And so she opened up and has had a hard life and she is going through such a hard time right now. It's especially hard because they have a daughter on a mission and right around the time that she left the dad went inactive. But when people tell us stories about their life like that we just feel such a great Christ like love for them. But after talking to her for a while we had a lesson with the two youngest sons and I'm not sure why, but after the lesson they just started bringing us all these random things to give us. Like they gave us each an apple. They gave us each a chocolate coin or two. We each got 7 random coins (they counted them out). I got a broken music box that belongs to their sister on a mission. Then the youngest one came up to Hermana Mulliner and was like, "do you get itchy sometimes?" She was like, "no" but he proceeded to give her his itch cream. We were laughing so hard. We tried to sneakily leave the presents at their house, but the mom was like, "you'd better take your presents, they gave them to you!" HAHA!! I'm still laughing about it while writing this. Some situations like that on the mission that happen to us are so great. Like we couldn't have made up stuff like that.
Anyway, I'm excited to get to talk to you tomorrow. I hope you all have the best Christmas ever and try to remember the true meaning of Christmas and what gift you want to give Christ this year!