I hope everyone had a great Christmas Eve and Christmas! I know we sure did! We were able to be with our district for both days, all day, and we had a blast! We went caroling with the elders both mornings and it was so fun. At first, people gave us some weird looks, but we left them with a smile. At one point, we got kicked out of the metro station for singing (apparently you need a permit, whoops!). We also were able to pass by and see a lot of families and just spend time with them in their homes and share a message of Christmas. And yes, they gave us TONS of food.
Christmas afternoon, we were going to stop by this one family for dinner, but they were confused and thought we were coming the next week. So our district decided that we would just go to the church and make a dinner there together. When we got there, we saw that someone was cleaning the church. When we went inside, we saw that this young woman and her daughter (both members and good friends of ours - Yulibert and Yulieth) had been cleaning the church for hours by themselves. When I saw them, a lump formed in my throat and my eyes began to water. I went over and gave Yulibert a huge hug and asked her "Hermana, are you serious? It is Christmas, what are you two doing here, cleaning, by yourselves”? She simply replied, "Well, someone´s gotta do it, and I don´t mind." What a gem. I love this woman so much. She is ALWAYS serving. She ALWAYS is there offering a helping hand. We helped her for a few hours after and had some nice hot chocolate!
After that, we actually stopped by this huge Catholic Cathedral and went to a 30 minute Mass. It was the first Catholic Church I had been to, and it was very interesting to see their culture.
Finally, towards the end of the night, I SKYPED MY FAMILY!!! IT. WAS. AMAZING. - and so much fun! I felt like I was just there in the living room with them, chatting about all of my experiences here, full of laughs and tears. We all talked about how much we have grown, and changed. They all bore powerful testimonies of this gospel and missionary work, and share their love and excitement for me. I couldn´t ask for a more incredible family. I look up to all of them so much and am so blessed to be a part of our family. I love and miss you all!
We also were blessed with the miracle baptism of Maira on Saturday! I told you all a little bit about her story a couple weeks ago. It was a beautiful service. Her whole family came, and both her mom and dad bore their testimonies in front of everyone, saying that this is what is right and true for their daughter. It was amazing. I love her so much and am so proud of this great step she has taken in her life. She is so happy, and I know her Father in Heaven is happy too. It was the best "White Christmas" I have ever had!
I am so thankful for this Christmas season and all the LOVE that goes with it; because I know that, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
God loves us, and so he gave us His Son, so that we might share this perfect love of Christ with the world. I am so grateful for all of you in my life, and for the extraordinary examples you are to me. Continue to share this great gift and love with everyone!
MERRY CHRISTMAS! FELIZ NAVIDAD! ZORIONAK!
Hermana Lydia Pamela Vance