Well, it was quite a week. And, if I’m going to be completely honest, a very trunky one. Or in non-missionary terms… a week of thinking about home. For that reason it was a great week, but also very hard.
I’ll start with Monday. So on Monday soccer once again fell through, so we just made plans with Elder Anderson again. Of course I’m not going to complain about that. All we really did was go to lunch and then cybered. We ate lunch at a Quiznos, which although not the same as the States, it was really good. Probably the best thing about it was the lack of oil and fat. I’ve eaten ridiculously unhealthy for the last year, and it was nice to not have to for at least one meal.
Then we went to the cyber to figure out the Skype situation with our families. So I got it all figured out with my family, but my sister was home so I decided to do a practice run with her. Good thing too, as I found out that the computer’s microphone didn’t work so she couldn’t hear me. But like a great sister, she sat there and looked at me for awhile as I tried to fix it. In the end it was unfixable, but Elder Anderson passed me his personal microphone and webcam so I could talk with my sister for a little bit. It was awesome! We talked about a lot. A lot of pointless stuff but some real stuff too. Probably the most important thing we talked about was her upcoming college decision. It was really cool to be able to talk with her and help her think about things she hadn’t and to understand what she was thinking. On Skype it is way easier than over emails. I feel like I was able to help her a lot, especially considering that I’ve already gone to college for 2 years. So we talked for a bit and then I gave the stuff back to him and headed out with Elder Stopper to an FHE.
Well, a visit we thought we had. We showed up, and they thought it was nice of us and wanted to take a Christmas picture with us. All good, but what was apparently lost in translation was that we wanted to do a visit as well. They had plans, so we did the picture and then headed out.
So the next morning was my actual Skype time with my family and, oh man, was it awesome and well worth the wait and anticipation that I had building up to it. I’ve discussed this a couple times with my dad and maybe in the blog before but I’m still not sure if I’d rather just have a phone call. It is awesome to see everybody’s faces and your house and the snow. I miss snow -- how weird is that? Anyway, but it is sooo hard to leave. I am gonna say it is worth the pain though. The Skype calls are by far my favorite days of the year. I took my family for granted a lot before the mission and now that I’m a little wiser I love my family so much more. I can’t wait to be home with them again. Again, we basically talked about nothing and everything. It’s weird how you can’t remember what happened in the call and you always feel like there is something you wanted to say but didn’t but you still feel amazing after. I hope my family feels the same way; I think they do.
So after that, we went home and showered and took care of some other stuff and then got ready to go to the bishop’s house for a Christmas Eve dinner.
Paraguayan Christmas is different than the States. First of all, Christmas Eve is celebrated far more than actual Christmas day. And the big difference for me was the fireworks. Everyone has fireworks and sets them off all day and night. Big ones, small ones, quiet ones, loud ones. But mostly loud ones. Like really loud ones! Also, people shoot guns up in the air. It’s crazy. I couldn’t imagine being out when the actual partying happens. We were in bed and asleep way before the partying actually started in Paraguay.
Anyway, we went to the bishop’s house for a dinner since they invited us. It was a good meal. Just fun to be with a family around Christmas more than anything. The next day was Christmas.
Although, to be honest, it didn’t feel like Christmas at all and was probably the worst Christmas I can remember in my life. I just was really homesick and missed my family, and it was really hot and, I don’t know -- it was just rough. I will never have a Christmas without my family again if I can help it. I opened my presents from my grandma and parents, and that was really cool. I didn’t expect to open anything. I also got a lot of stuff I really appreciate and am excited about. That part was far more than anything I ever expected in the mission.
After that we went and played soccer with the members in the chapel, and that was a lot of fun. We had a lot of less-actives there, and we used that to meet a lot of them. Hopefully that will lay some groundwork for future visits. I also had quite the little sequence of events in one game, as I scored an own goal off my butt only to score the equalizer as the buzzer sounded. Then I scored in the penalty shootout as the last shooter before my team finally won. It was crazy! I was glad I could make up for the own goal though. Ha ha.
After that, we showered and then visited some families. In all honesty, the day wasn’t that bad. It was just that I couldn’t not think of home. So ya, for that it sucked. The next day we did a Christmas BBQ with some other elders. That was a lot of fun! We borrowed a grill, and my companion grilled some bomb pork and made some Ecuadorian side dishes and we ate and laughed and had a really good day. It’s one of those days that I will never forget from the mission.
The next day we had a homecoming for a guy in our ward -- talk about homesickness. It was good to see that missionaries do eventually come home though. It was also really cool to see and hear his experiences and how people received him. I had to bear my testimony at that, and I basically just told him I’m jealous, but to not forget what he learned on his mission and that if he’s trying to get better every day then he is doing the right thing. That’s something I’ve learned out here is that it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish, and that nobody's perfect but if we are trying to get there we are on the right track.
Then we got our changes news, and I’m going to be with Elder Stopper for another 6 weeks. SO for those of you who know about my last change with him and for those of you who don’t, please pray for me. That was not exactly the news I wanted to get. But the Lord must have a reason, so I’m gonna do my best and do what I can.
Today is my birthday. SO hopefully y’all remembered and said so. If not, it’s all good. I accept happy late birthdays as well. Ha ha. I love you guys and can’t wait to see you.