It was such a blessing to be able to talk to you guys on Christmas. It really didn't feel like Christmas at all this year without a white blanket of snow, the smell of burning firewood from the chimney of every house, and the waft of chestnuts roasting on a fire. I guess winter down south is something that takes getting used to, although I doubt I'll gave to next year. Listening to Christmas music helped a little bit but it also made me miss having Christmas back east, which is actually consistent with the descriptions of every Holiday song. I can't wait to be able to talk to you guys again on Mother's Day.
I don't have much time to write this week since Elder Ralphs and I spent our whole day biking to Scottsdale to pick up our car, which just got repaired. Not to mention that this is also a shortened p-day due to the fact that we are going to have another one on New Year's Day. So I only have like five more minutes. Me and Elder Ralphs have been working super hard, as usual, and had a pretty good week considering there were two p-days and we rode bikes (which slows down the work if you don't plan it right). The transfer is coming to an end pretty soon and I am so badly hoping that Elder Ralphs and I stay together. Elder Ralphs suggested to me that that's what we fast for this Sunday. I have learned so much from his work ethic, good attitude, and ability to speak the language with power, but there is a lot more I could learn as well. We are really buckling down and trying to get people to understand the importance of what we are saying so that they will actually act and put forth effort to do the things that we commit them to do. We have seen that the ones that do, are the ones that progress towards baptism and have spiritual experiences. Right now we have 8 baptismal dates with 3 looking solid for the month of January. It all comes back to getting people to really grasp the severity and reality of the message that we share with them. If they put forth their faith a little bit and test our promises they will be blessed so greatly.
I think one of the biggest problems we face is the problem of how casual Satan has made religion. People believe in God and Jesus but its become something that just requires people to say "yes I believe" and actually "do", the absolute minimum possible. I might have not been that bad but I admit that I was a victim of this mentality at one point or another in my life. If the scriptures are true and God really is there, then we should be doing all we can to grow closer to him. If the scriptures are 100% true, this is something so miraculous and life changing!! It is hard to instill this sense of thinking into others, especially religiously active Hispanics (and by religiously active I mean that they go to church every once and a while and have read the bible once ((and by once I don't mean the whole way through))). The one thing that is great about Hispanic people is how humble, loving and friendly they are. Because of this we are able to teach a lot and bring a lot of people closer to Christ.
Those are some of my thoughts this week ... I love you guys and pray for every one of you.