Monday, December 19, 2016

Just To Be There

What a busy week it was! But it was really fun and today we had our Christmas activity with all the missionaries from the two zones in Juchitan and the zone from Salina Cruz.
We ate barbecue ribs with mashed potatoes, some delicious pasta and steamed vegetables. I've learned to love steamed veggies, mom knows that that was one of the few things I didn't eat but its the only way they prepare their vegetables in Oaxaca so I've learned it like them. The dessert was an apple bread like pastry with ice cream. We ate at about noon and I'm still full. It was delicious and I ate a bunch. Then we played some games, performed some skits and talents, and Santa (President Madsen with a super fake beard) came out and gave us our Christmas packages! Thanks so much for the packages! I assume one is from the ward and the other from home. I´m going to be patient and wait to open them on the 25th :)

On Saturday and Sunday we performed our Christmas program in the two stake centers in Juchitan. The performances went great, with a few miscues and mistakes but what do you expect from a bunch of missionaries who rehearsed only two times he he. The piano messed up a bit on Saturday during my duet of O Holy Night, but on Sunday we nailed it! I got a lot of compliments, mainly because its not a popular Christmas song in Spanish and a lot of people have never heard of it before.

The program was really special and I remember seeing a lot of people crying during our performance. At one point of the presentation the Book of Mormon is introduced and a picture of the Savior visiting the Americas is put on the projector. I looked out into the audience and right in the middle of the third row their was a girl with downs syndrome holding up her Book of Mormon with excitement and complete joy on her face, pointing to her Book of Mormon and then the picture on the screen. While seeing how much the Book of Mormon and the program made her so happy brought tears to my eyes and made all the sacrifices and effort worth it. 

In that moment the spirit testified to me again that the Book of Mormon and this marvelous work is all true. I'm so grateful for these experiences that my Heavenly Father allows me to have that strengthen me so much. The other day a young woman came up to me and asked me if I was in Huatulco about a year ago. I replied that I was as I tried to remember her but I didn't recognize her at all. She simply told me "Gracias! Muchas gracias, Elder!" With a confused look on my face I replied,

"Uh what´s your name? I don't remember you..." 

She said that we didn't meet. One day she passed me the market and saw me eating and from a distance read my name tag but then she left without talking to us. She said that thanks to me she searched the Elders in her hometown and is now receiving the lessons. 

I only had time to spurt out "de nada" when she said goodbye and hurried off. 

I didn't have time to ask more questions and now I want to find her again to talk to her more! That strange but gratifying discussion made me think...I didn't do anything really but for just being present here in Oaxaca, and for being in the right place at the right time has been a blessing for someone. That experience makes me want to be more diligent and talk to all the people that I can to share this wonderful message of love and hope. Remember this Christmas season, "to just be there" for someone and to serve others in every opportunity that we have.

Love you all so much! ¡Feliz Navidad! Prospero año y felicidad :)
-Elder Smith

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