Those sure were super enjoyable hours Skype calling you. I didn't tell you this that night so you wouldn't get too worried, but we actually heard about 8 gunshots in a row near the end of that call and that was when I was like... we need to get home now... thankfully we arrived home safely.
This week was definitely the craziest of my entire life. Unbelievably loco. As I told you in the Skype call, the federal government and state government are working to eliminate a big group of drug lords who all met together in Papantla. There have been shootings all over the city since Tuesday last week. On Wednesday it was so bad that all the missionaries had to stay indoors. So far there are I don't know how many people dead but my confidential source says it's several dozen. Supposedly things are calming down, but there are about 200 police trucks and army vehicles circling town 24/7, so my bet is they haven't caught everybody they were looking for. To have the mission president call you and tell you to stay indoors is pretty scary, though. My prayer this week has been if Isaiah could pray an army of angels to destroy dozens of thousands of enemies then I can certainly pray for heavenly angels to protect me as I go about the day. I can feel their protective power. I know I am kept safe from on high.
Friday was my birthday! At midnight sharp I awoke to hear Alvin and the Chipmunks singing very loudly... in Spanish! My comp shouted ''¡Feliz cumpleaños!'' and starting dancing like a maniac. All I could process at that moment was ¡¿Qué?! I was half asleep and super confused. My comp said, ''I am giving you 20 Quetzales (Guatemalan currency) because I don't know what else to give you!'' He explained to me that it's a Guatemalan tradition to wake up the birthday boy right at midnight, give him a gift, and start singing and dancing. I laughed my head off and immediately wrote in my journal so I wouldn't wake up in the morning and think it was all just a dream. Super funny.
Then I went to two very special birthday parties, one with sister Matilde and another with sister Marissa. I loved them both even. In the first I got my birthday cake which according to Mexican tradition I got pushed in my face (a little bit too hard), sweet little Valerie gave me her most prized plus toy (a bumblebee), and we all talked and laughed for un buen rato. Afterward we went to Sister Marisa's house. Best birthday party I've had yet. Chocolate fountain, 3 ginormous pizzas, an Iron Man piñata, and I got to dress up as Golosin el Oso, the Dulcelandia mascot. That costume made the temperature seem about 20 degrees warmer but it was hilarious and so worth making the memories.
Saturday I spent the day skyping the family. I am glad the situations I've been in so far for the calls have been quite favorable considering a year ago I got totally ripped off with my extra week in the MTC. Only one call home left. Now that's a cool thought. Makes it sound like I'm a lot farther in the mission than I really am. But hey, there's less left than what I've already done. And it does seem like the days are going by faster.
Omar is the coolest investigator I have ever had. Bar none. Super golden. Beyond golden. He's already doing missionary work with his friends at school and keeps all the commandments. Such a cool kid and such a blessing to have found him. In Preach My Gospel chapter 9 it talks about how the Lord guides His children toward the missionaries. That was definitely the case with Omar because he came to us - in the chapel - at a baptism - all by himself. The promises the Lord makes us are real.
Papantla has definitely been a fun area for me. The hills I got used to in just a few weeks. I've been here enough time to be able to encariñarme with a whole lot of members and it is so fun to be part of their families. It's super likely I'll get transferred here in two weeks and it's going to be hard to say goodbye to this wonderful ward but I have definitely had a blast in Papantla and will continue to have fun these last two weeks.