Well. Sometimes, I feel like my mission is trying to kill me. In case any of you were wondering if it's possible to experience culture shock halfway through your mission in your own country...yes. It is.
In all honesty though, I LOVE it! I love the Spanish language, I love this ward already, and I love my new companion. I'm still deciding about the Latin American culture haha. (But secretly I love that too.) We had a ward Christmas party last weekend that was scheduled to start at 6 but the opening prayer wasn't said until 7:45 - typical of Spanish wards, apparently. I mean, if everyone's okay with it then I guess that's great! On my first Sunday, I performed TWO musical numbers in sacrament meeting. TWO! I think that's a record! We sang a hymn medley with the elders in our ward (by the way, all three of the other missionaries in our ward are native Spanish-speakers) and then literally 5 minutes before church started, this one YSA told us that the girl who was going to sing with him lost her voice and asked us to fill in - so we sang O Holy Night in English as well. I also got delegated to introduce our song in Spanish before we sang. It was just...a lot! But everyone has been super nice and pretty patient with my Spanish. Mostly I just start talking and then when I don't know something I get my companion to translate it from English for me and then I keep going. It works. Also, a lot of the members speak French.
My companion is Hermana Rivas. She's Venezuelan but lives in Utah but is from Florida. And she is the bomb dot com. She has spent the past 6 months with my MTC companion, who is someone that I got along great with, so this companionship is one of the best things that's ever happened. I've been so blessed to have so many awesome companions!
But anyways, something somewhat important is happening this week....LA NAVIDAD! CHRISTMAS! NOEL! Whatever you call it! I am super excited. Along with all the celebrations, gifts, decorations, and food, I really really love the emphasis that is put on the birth of our Saviour. D&C 6:13 says: "If thou wilt do good, yea, and hold out faithful to the end, thou shalt be saved in the kingdom of God, which is the greatest of all the gifts of God; for there is no gift greater than the gift of salvation."
This Christmas, pause and remember Jesus Christ. Remember that He is the sole reason for which we can experience hope. Joy. Peace. Love. This time of year and always, remember Him. He is the greatest gift ever given, because through Him came not only salvation, but "every good thing"(Moroni 7:22). Remember that we celebrate Christ.mas because Christ.was.