Feliz Feztival De Navidad!

Hola, everyone…

So I´m kind of short on time right now…I had a few other emails to respond to…so I´m going to skip the traditional intro and just, as Jack Black says in “Nacho Libre,” get to the nitty gritty. 🙂
  • So…mail. I got a letter this week, which was very nice. It was the stake missionary newsletter that President Johnson writes and sends out every so often. The problem? It was postmarked July 17. Which means it took more than a month to get to me. (It also means that President Johnson sent it way back when I was still in Kansas, but as I´ve since learned, he probably knew then that I had my visa, since that´s about the time it arrived, and thus addressed it to Arequipa rather than Kansas.) Anyways, my companion explained that the missionary in charge of mail in the mission office doesn´t go to retrieve the mail from Serpost very often. From what I saw on the postmarks on the letter from Pres. Johnson, it took about a month to get here, and then subsequently took about a month to get to me after that. Long story short…still send me letters, because I love them, but email is most likely the quickest way to communicate with me. If you do send me a letter, you might want to wish me a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year while you´re at it. (Kidding, kidding… :)) Dad, as I said in the email to you, I haven´t got either of your letters, and Mom, I haven´t got your package yet (I also sent you an email about that). We´ll see how that all plays out.
  • I had an…ahem…interesting experience with a dog this week. While visiting a member family and waiting by the door, their dog, Fido (pronounced Fee-dough), was running around and getting all excited. I petted him a bit, and then he jumped and climbed on my leg…and I thought it was fine, until I realized what he was doing. What was he doing? Well, it´s not quite appropriate for a family email. (You can all put two and two together. :)) I´ve had lots of crazy experiences with dogs, but never like this. Never like this. 🙂
  • The four attached photos are for your enjoyment (I´ll send more whenever I can). (Mom and Ariel, btw, do you still have the memory card I sent you guys? I´d still love to have the pictures I wrote you guys about from it, whenever you guys get the chance.) One is of my companion and I and one of his former pensionistas (on the right), with her sister and her mom. Another is of us and the Santiago family (our pensionistas), Mahonri, Jeremy, and their awesome son Marcelo, on Elder Flores´ birthday. The other two are related to a recurring theme in my pictures here…remember how I found that detergent named Ariel, and sent you guys the picture? I´ve also found stuff here named Geo and Ronny. It´s kind of awesome. 🙂
  • Quickly…so my email title is related to yet another celebration we had recently…the part of Tacna we live in (it´s kind of complicated to explain here, so I´ll take care of that later) is called Natividad, and this past weekend they had a bunch of parades, festivals, etc. to celebrate their anniversary. It was pretty exciting. We had a huge inflatable slide right in front of our house. And by right in front of our house, I mean right in front of our house. Like I said, very exciting. 🙂
  • Food…last night I had something incredibly delicious called a pastel de fideos…basically, a casserole/cake made out of noodles, with egg and cheese and milk and a little bit of spices. I basically wanted to marry it. Pretty much all my favorite dishes here have involved noodles…I can´t help it. I also ate sugarcane yesterday…it was delicious, but I definitely have a bit of work to do in learning how to eat it. 🙂
  • I have two funny stories involving my Spanish this week, but I´ll save them for the next email, along with a few other things. I need to wrap this up. 🙂
  • Ariel or Mom…could you check on the email for the Manners and send it to me? I´d love to send them a little something, and email is probably the best way to go, since they live in, y´know, England, and I´m in Peru.ad
  • Mom, also, could you wish Uncle Beto a happy birthday this week from me? (And get me all the NY addresses, whenever you get the chance? :))

To close…so like pretty much every week in Tacna so far, this week hasn´t been without its difficulties. There was a point this week that got really bad. I won´t go into details here, for the sake of time and because it´s a bit of a personal story, but I want you all to know now that as always, things have gotten better. Incredibly better. There have been a few experiences this week with my teaching that I´ve felt have been the best in my mission so far. My focus right now is to act, rather than just talk about acting. I need to DO more…I can talk about doing more until I´m blue in the face, but it doesn´t mean anything until I act. I´m working hard to be a missionary of action, and be the best companion, best teacher, best servant of the Lord that I can be. I love you all so much, I´m thankful for all you´ve done and continue to do for me, and know that you´re all constantly in my prayers.

Con mucho amor,
Elder Randall
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