Monday, December 23, 2013

Almost Christmas

For the first time in my mission, I met somebody (not a missionary) who’s not from Mexico! I was walking down the street with Elder S when we both spotted a gringo in the distance. Now I realize how seriously out of place I look! We both went running to say hi to him. We only talked for about 30 seconds – he is a high school exchange student who is studying in Teziutlán and came out to Teteles to buy some random thing and that’s all he had time to say before he got in a taxi back to Teziutlán. But still, the first foreigner I’ve seen. Mexico is a closed country in that sense. Basically the only people here were born here and they’ve never moved.
Another interesting incident this week: A lady, who is investigating the church and is the mother of a member, called us on Thursday and asked if we would give a blessing to her mother who had fallen very ill. It turns out her liver was basically 90% gone and the doctor said there’s nothing that can be done. We went to give the blessing and the Spirit indicated that she wasn’t going to live, so that is exactly what the content of the blessing I gave was. A while after we had left the house, she died. It’s the first blessing I’ve given like that.
9 people who we are teaching showed up at the church yesterday.  It was awesome.
Ways to celebrate a Mexican Christmas:
1.       Decorations! Buy a fake cheap tree and put a couple of ornaments on it. Don’t get too fancy. Put one strand of lights on your house… somewhere… in a random fashion. Too many lights just scare people away. Also, make sure there’s a gigantic Santa Claus or virgin in one of your windows. And… that’s about it. People don’t go all out here, but they do the same kind of decorations on a minor scale.

2.       Go ahead and treat the 24th as if it were Christmas Day. Open all your presents and do all your festivities and just be lazy the 25th.

3.       ¡Piñatas! Buy piñatas as if it were a birthday party. Break them all in a row on the 24th singing the piñata song as the whole family takes turns. This tradition I plan on adopting.

4.       Bake pinguilos! It’s the Mexican Christmas bread. It basically looks like elephant ears but I’m pretty sure it’s not the same thing.

5.       Everybody drinks a lot of fruit punch. Legitimate fruit punch that they spend hours and hours preparing to make sure it’s perfect. Then you get little pieces of pineapple and so forth in the bottom of your cup to eat after you drink all you can handle.
Other than that, Christmas isn’t a whole lot different here! I mostly think it’s funny that piñata sales go through the roof.

This was our branch Christmas party that my companion and I organized.

 Changing out the gas. One nice thing about Mexico is that each time trucks drive by playing a different song depending on what they sell and if you need something and recognize the song you run outside and whistle. ¡Listo! Delivery at random.

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