Just In Time

Hola, familia y amigos…

So right now I´m technically going over my email time, but I think the zone leaders gave us a bit more time to email because we had to fill out a mission questionnaire online. (Emphasis on “think.” :)) Anyways…let´s speed off to what´s going on here in Tacna, shall we? 🙂
  • So, how my Christmas went. It was lovely, like I alluded last week. So there are tons of fireworks in the streets on Christmas Eve (starting at midnight). It´s crazy. And it would be ten different kinds of illegal in Arizona (and probably pretty much all of the U.S.). So Christmas Eve night, we received a firm directive from Pres. Fernandez that we had to be in our rooms by 9 like normal, and be in our beds by 10:30 as always. It´s a tradition here that everyone stays up until midnight, and then drinks hot chocolate and eats panetón. We, quite obviously, were not able to participate in this tradition, but we still had hot chocolate and panetón that night, and because Elder Serrano needed to make little origami gifts for our district, and I was helping him, we were in bed by 10:30, but were awake to hear the crazy fireworks at midnight. 🙂 Christmas Eve was the evening after P-day…we spent it contacting, but musically. We went from house to house (members and nonmembers alike) sharing a Christmas message and singing a verse or two of a Christmas hymn. It really brought an amazing Christmas spirit, and although not many of the people had much time to listen to us, pretty much everyone loved the music. (Elder Serrano isn´t too bad of a singer. He can at least stay on tune pretty well and whatnot. He says he´s not good, but those are mentiras. :)) Another Christmas Eve tradition here is that there´s a big dinner…turkey and all that jazz. We had our turkey a bit earlier, and it was very delicious. And it made us sleepy. Darn trytophan. (Like Thanksgiving over there in the States, we ate leftover turkey pretty much all that week. :))
  • Related to us being in our beds on Christmas Eve…Elder Serrano has informed me that I talk in my sleep. I think of all the people I´ve slept in the same room with in my life, pretty much 99% of them are really heavy sleepers and/or also talk in their sleep (oh, my roommate at BYU that accidentally called 911 while sleeping… :)), so I hadn´t really had a chance before to know if I did or not. But he has told me that I do. And Christmas Eve night, I helped him with the origami things he was making, and then he told me to get some sleep…and apparently I was talking about someone named Juan Velasco while sleeping. Hna. Yesenia and everyone told me that Juan Velasco is a politician or something here, but I had quite honestly never heard of him, or anyone with that name, in my life. A bit creepy, but also hilarious. Anyways, I´m a sleeptalker. Good to know. 🙂
  • New Year´s Eve…not much special happened. Except for tons and tons more fireworks in the streets. I would say it was like the Fourth of July, but no. I have never seen a Fourth of July of that caliber in Arizona, Utah, or any other state I have resided in. Never. Oh, the craziness…
  • I have been on my mission for 8 months now. I´m not going to say I feel old again. But I do. But I´m also happy, so that works out. 🙂
  • OK, so once again I´m burying the lead…we had a baptism this week. It was a bit of a surprise. So the grandmother of Eduardo, the 10-year-old boy we baptized in September (she is the great-grandmother of Lucero, the daughter of Eduardo´s sister, the 9-year-old we baptized also in September), has been staying with her son and his family (they´re less-active members) since Elder Serrano came. A few weeks ago, when we were there to pick up Eduardo and Lucero to bring them to Church…out of the blue, she said she wanted to come too, and we of course obliged. Two weeks later, she went again, enjoyed it, received a priesthood blessing…and we realized that she could totally be baptized. We talked to her about baptism this week, she said she wanted to…but this week she´s traveling back to her home, a very isolated pueblo a bit of a ways from Arequipa. She was worried about not being able to attend church…there isn´t much Church presence there, because it´s so far out of the way…so we talked to the zone leaders, they interviewed her, they called the assistants, and they said that she could be baptized. She agreed, and thus, we had her baptism Saturday, and she was confirmed yesterday. Her name is Justa, and she´s 77…more than the age of our previous 4 baptisms combined, funnily enough. 🙂 It was a very nice experience…Elder Serrano baptized her, and I was in the font too to help her go down in the water fine. I have pictures, but I don´t have an adapter to send them yet, so I´ll try to send them next week. We were very excited to finally have another baptism here in Natividad…hopefully there will be more to come. We have an investigator with a baptismal date this week, and we´ll be working very closely to prepare her to be baptized Saturday.
  • Another case of burying the lead. Today, we start eating with a new pensionista. Hna. Dolores and her family are traveling…Hna. Yesenia will actually be back in a week or two, and Hna. Dolores and her husband will be back and forth…but basically, they can´t continue with the pension, so we had to switch. You may laugh when I tell you who our new pensionista is…the same one Elder Flores and I had, Hna. Jeremy (I believe I sent pictures of her…). Yes, the wife of the second counselor Elder Flores fought with. 🙂 It´s a bit crazy to going back to where I was before, but it´ll be a bit different…we won´t be living there, as we´ve chosen to stay in the room we´re in right now…and it will be all good. As for the family of Hna. Yesenia and Hna. Dolores, we´ll still be neighbors and all, and I should be able to see them quite a bit, at the very least before I get transferred. Ch-ch-ch-changes… 🙂
  • Mom, you are really using Facebook to your advantage here. This week, while we were looking for a new pensionista, we talked to a hermana in the ward, Hna. Marleny. She wasn´t able to be our pensionista, but before we left, she told me…”Elder…you look a lot like your mom.” I thought about that for a second, and then went, “What?!?!?” She then told me she´s friends with you on FB. It´s a small world…
  • We have a new piano in our ward. It makes me so happy. I´ll tell you all more about it next week. 🙂
  • Dad, could you email me by chance “Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus”? It´s a Christmas story when a little girl sent a letter to a newspaper in Chicago years ago about Santa Claus, and hopefully you´ve heard of it…anyways, I want to read it to my companion. Long story. 🙂

And…time´s up. This email was kind of all over the place, like old times, but hopefully you enjoy it. I love you all so much. As always, you´re all in my prayers and thoughts. 🙂

Con amor,
Elder Randall


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