Dear family and friends,
Well it sure has been a crazy year, I remember this time last year I hadn't even received my call yet! So many things have happened from getting my call to the long six month wait, to actually stepping off the plane in Arequipa Peru!! Now I am almost 7 months in to my mission and speak Spanish sometimes. I have really gained such a greater love, knowledge, and testimony for the gospel!!
Back two weeks ago was Christmas, it was a wonderful day to get to talk to my family. I learned it really doesn't matter where you are, there is still a spirit in the air of Christmas! Christmas in Peru is a little bit different. We celebrate it on Christmas Eve, which is called Buena Noche here. That is when they do all of the celebration. Gift giving, family time, whatever is all the night before Christmas...truthfully they don't do anything on Christmas day. Some of the traditions that they have here that are unique is a little bit before midnight they drink hot chocolate and eat paneton, which is fruitcake...don't worry though it is much better here than in the states! And at midnight the fireworks go off...and well we are not in Utah anymore!! Just about a billion huge fireworks go off everywhere, in every direction, by your house, your new car...you yourself!! Everywhere...and even though my companion and I were scared and shielding ourselves most of the time, we had a lot of fun and a very different but memorable Christmas! On Christmas day after we got to talk to our families, we went to sing in the Plaza De Armas with most of the missionaries in Arequipa. That was really a beautiful thing, the spirit was so strong there. I had a moment while singing and looking around thinking how beautiful it is that all of these people my friends, in the Mission Peru Arequipa. Come from all over the world, literally. We all have different trials different views, different purposes, but in the end we are all here doing what we know is right and united in our faith!! After all of that life went back to preaching the gospel and was good!! New Year’s came and the fireworks where even bigger and louder I didn’t even know that was possible!!
It is crazy to me, this is truly the year of my mission and I am so excited to be here and learn more and grow! I am very grateful for all of the support and love that I have seen. I have truly seen so many blessings and miracles while being here in the wonderful place of Peru!! Thank you for all of your love, and prayers! I am so blessed and doing well, thanks for everything and have a fabulous first month of 2014!!
Con mucho amor,