Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Wishes and an Etch-a-Sketch from Peru!

Dear Your Name Here,

It's been a long time, very long time since I've heard your voice and I bet you never thought I was
So sorry so
I've had a hard time, very hard time seeing less of you
I never though you knew

Yeah, good song. NFG brings the flava. Anywayz...

Merry Almost Christmas! Wow! I can't believe Chrismas is less than a week away! Because it really doesn't feel like Christmas here. It's like twenty zillion degrees and super sunny! I hope you all have a pretty super holiday though. I really don't know what to expect of a Peruvian Christmas. Excited to find out what it's like though! But I'm gonna miss all of our family traditions a ton. Also my own weird traditions that I started. Like how for the past three Christmases Ive woken up earlier than everyone else to watch my All-American Rejects documentaries before going up to open all the presents. You guys thought I was sleeping late, but I was just being dumb. I dunno, I did that one year, and then the next year I was like "oh yeah, I watched that last year and it was fun, so I might as well do it again" and then last year I decided I've already done it twice so I might as well make it a tradition. I don't get it either. But I'll miss those completely non-Christmas related DVDs this year. I was thinking about all the most awesomest presents I've ever gotten for Christmas, and I came up with a top three. One: my first Gameboy with Pokemon Yellow. I think getting that when I was like 7 was like the happiest moment of my life. Two: My electric guitar. This one ended up being better in the long run. Three: I don't know how old I was but I must have been like 8 or something, and we were in California for Christmas at G+G Paul's house and I got the sweetest Lego Aquasharks set ever and it's still the coolest thing and I still love Legos and I want some really bad right now. Star Wars Legos.

Oh yeah, speaking of Christmas... I finally got your birthday package! You know, for my birthday that was over a month ago? That package you sent like two months ago? Yeah, I just got it. Thanks so much though! CHEWY GOBSTOPPERS!! The Dog Dazer is funny. Elder Despain and I are going to have so much fun messing around with that and annoying all the dogs in town. Especially thanks for the dog flea collars. Next time one of these wild rabid dogs comes up to me I'll be sure to take the time to do it the favor of putting a collar around it's neck to cure it's flea problem. You guys are weird. Oh yeah, speaking of candy, next time you decide to randomly send me candy I have a specific request: Warheads. I want them so bad! Also sour gummy worms, but I could probably find those here... also Mountain Dew.

Anyway I'm on a mission and none of that stuff had anything to do with my mission or my crazy life these days. Last Sunday, the day before I sent all the pictures, I gave my first of what will probably be a huge amount of talks in Sacrament Meeting. It was short and simple, but it went fairly well. Actually I didn't feel like writing a talk so I pulled out a talk I wrote while I was in the MTC and just used that. The Spanish was horrendous, but I corrected it as I went. Except I had one huge problem, and it was that I had to go pee really bad. I almost peed my pants giving a talk in church!! Actually, I did a little bit. Haha. I think it was pretty obvious that I had to pee too. I cut my talk a little bit short because I knew if I stayed up there any longer I would explode. Soo... that was my first Spanish sacrament talk experience. Haha. Awkward.

That lady I talked about the other time who was super awesome and was taking notes the first time we taught her is still super awesome. She has such a sincere desire to learn more about the gospel and is truly looking for a change in her life. She always has great questions and our visits with her are my favorite part of my mission so far. She's come to church twice now. She was late and missed the sacrament both times but at least she was there! This past weekend we visited her on Saturday and she was telling us about how she was making sure to get all of her laundry and her work done that day so that she would have Sunday free to go to church. Not even the members do that! That's a really big deal here. She's already planning ahead and making small sacrifices to make it to church. Without us asking her! Nobody does that! She's the best. She was telling us one day about how she was in a really bad mood and then started reading the Book of Mormon and felt this sense of calm and comfort come over her, and that she feels the same way when we come to visit. She always tells us about how she wants to be able to have the peace and joy that she sees in us in her life. One day we were teaching her and she asked us if we can interpret dreams, which is kind of weird but she has such a strong desire to learn. Then she told us that she had dreamed that she got baptized into the church, and that she had another dream that she couldn't really remember that well other than that it had to do with God and it was something really beautiful and comforting. Then yesterday at church the coolest thing happened. We were in Sunday school in the class for recent converts and investigators, and Elder Despain was teaching it. She wanted to learn more about prophets so that's what Elder D decided to teach. Then near the end of the lesson she randomly asked about what that table with the white cloth over it in the chapel was. She got to church late so she hadn't seen the sacrament. Then she told us she was asking because she had a dream about it, and in the dream there were all these young men dressed in white in a line passing something around... wait, what?!? She had a dream about the sacrament, and she's never even seen it! We've hardly talked about it with her either. She doesn't even know anything about it. God is communicating to her through her dreams, and now we're trying to focus on teaching her how to recognize that she's receiving answers to her prayers and personal revelation. Especially through the peaceful feelings she gets when she reads and visits with us. So yeah, visiting with her is pretty much the highlight of my mission. She's so ready to come unto Christ and accept His gospel. We talked with one of her neighbors the other day who is a less active and she was talking to us about her and said something along the lines of "she's really progressing a lot isn't she? She's changing." Coolest thing ever. Seeing these people's lives change through application of the gospel is the greatest feeling in the world. I'm seeing and experiencing miracles basically every day. Life is crazy these days.

I'm not really sure what else to say. Other than that we've just been... working hard. Always looking for more opportunities to serve. I'm getting better at speaking and understanding the language, but it's still hard. Maybe someday I'll get it. Oh yeah! Guess who can roll his R's now!... Still not me! Haha. Not even a little.

Please accept the attached picture as my Christmas present from me to all of you this year. Especially to Claire, mi mejor amiga! I can't send anything home partially because it's expensive and a huge hassle, but mostly because I don't have anything to send you guys. Haha. Sorry. But I put two days of effort into this Etch a Sketch picture. And by two days I meant over the course of two days I put like twenty minutes into this. I'm determined to become an Etch a Sketch master by the end of my mission. But I've been out here for over three months and I've probably only put like an hour and a half total into practicing.

Well, I love you guys a whole lot. I'm really sad that I can't be home to celebrate Christmas with you guys, but make sure to have a fun time without me anyway. I'll tell you about my Christmas experience next week. Thanks for being the best family I've ever had in my life!...  (also the worst)

Haha, bye-bye

-Elder Emslay (One of the various ways my name is pronounced these days)

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