Christmas is in only 24 days! I'll be using Google+ again so everyone (in my immediate family) can participate in the conversation, but I'll need my old password user name or someone else's to be able to get on and log in. I'll have my Skype available as plan B if I need to use it. The mission has taught me a ton that no matter what I plan, there should always be a backup in case an appointment falls through.
This week was full of pretty cool miracles and fun events. We had the chance to visit the stake that I spent most of my mission in, The Arsenal Stake! Because of the mission choir, we've been performing in a stake center every Saturday and Sunday until the end of the year. As we were in Arsenal, I was able to see many familiar faces from the Alcantara ward and the Marica Branch. I took many pictures and remembered some of the happiest and most difficult moments from my mission while I was serving there. These were easily my favorite two areas that I've passed and over half of my mission was spent in that stake. (9 transfers). I wouldn't mind if I spent my last few transfers over there.
One really cool miracle we had was finding two ladies and starting to teach them, named Joyce and Cyntia. They seemed relatively sad sitting in front of their house, so we resolved to talk to them about the restored Gospel and how much joy and happiness it brings into our lives. I bore my testimony of the healing power of Christ's atonement and they accepted us to r return another day to visit them and teach them more. Joyce was able to come to church yesterday and is preparing now to be baptized on the 12th. Cyntia couldn't come to church because of her work, but she promised to be there this next Sunday.
We had a wonderful and frightening experience as we were trying to contact a referral of an inactive member. We were in a relatively unsafe neighborhood and I quickly realized that as we were waking up a steep hill and saw a few men on motorcycles, all holding a pistols or some type of gun as we turned the corner at the top, a 12 year old kid at the middle of this hill was using a walkie talkie and started following us as we conned up the hill. We let these men know VERY CLEARLY that we were missionaries from the LDS church and that we were looking for a lady who lived close by. They gave us a bit more space, then started asking where we were from. I didn't want to respond, but luckily Elder Gonzales said he was from Bolivia and they started teasing him because of his strong Hispanic accent. They also asked him if there really is a lot of cocaine being grown up there. Hmmmm. But then they let us go and all was good.
So yeah. This Thursday an area seventy, Elder Aidukoitus will be visiting the Rio de Janeiro Mission, and we've got a pretty big and schnazzy conference with him. It should be a very cool and uplifting experience. I'm not sure if I already let you all know, but I sent a Christmas package a couple of weeks ago. I'm hoping it gets there soon.
I love you all so very much! Feliz Natal para todos!