December 31, 2013
Ha, quite a week, not sure if I'll be able to fit it all in, so I'll keep it brief. Anyway, I had a great Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Christmas Eve we kept working until 8:30. The last two hours were pretty hard. No one wanted to listen to us and all of our planned visits fell through. We ended up walking around for a really long time visiting every person imaginable. I definitely missed our normal Christmas traditions at that point (especially the dessert party, since I was pretty hungry).
After that we went with a family in the ward to eat dinner at their house. As is the tradition here, we ate a bunch of incredible delicious tamales wrapped in plantain leaves and drank ponche, a cider made out of pineapple, sugar cane, coconut, papaya, and a bunch of other dried, canned, and fresh fruits. I must say, this is one Christmas tradition I might have to pick up. After that we just hung out for a couple of hours or so. I had no idea that saying up past 10:30 was so difficult. It was almost embarrassing. Anyway, we then went over to the house of the President of the Ward (the Escuintla District was just made a Stake and they haven't called a bishop yet). There we watched all the fireworks at 12:00. For weeks people had been selling a ton of fireworks on the street and in the tiendas. Fireworks and firecrackers are used pretty much 24/7, during the entire year, but I couldn't believe how crazy it was at midnight between Christmas Eve and Day. It was like a war zone. So much smoke, explosions, machine-gun noises, rockets, etc. They aren't many laws about firework safety here. I saw the 5 year only son of a member here who had the biggest burn I have ever seen. A firework exploded right in his chest. His burn was multi colored, with a very thick, bumpy scab. My stomach dropped when I saw him. It was so sad.
Christmas day we spent in our house. I loved my phone call home. Those 40 minutes went by so quickly, but it was great to be able to talk to them again. You don't realize just how much you love your family until you can't be with them. Then, at 5:00, we went out to work like normal. In all, a very good Christmas. It made me rededicate myself to work as hard as I can to bring souls unto Christ and unite families for the eternities so that they can experience the same joy and peace that I have.
Opening the Christmas box.
New shoe inserts along side old inserts