¨The Book of Mormon was written for us today. God is the author of the book. It is a record of a fallen people, compiled by inspired men for our blessing today. Those people never had the book. It was meant for us. ¨ -Ezra Taft Benson
I love the book of Mormon so much. I know sí o sí (more or less) that is was meant for the members here, for O, and for me.
Let me just give you a quick little update on this week. It was awesome! I wrote you last week from Coyhaique (capitol of Patagonia) and oh boy was it fun. We had interviews with president, who I love dearly. Then we had our activity. I told you a bit about it on Christmas (beeeeest) but it was really cool. One of the Elders read parts of the Bible while we also had little parts of singing the hymns and music from the Bible videos. It turned out real nice.
Then we all wrote our testimonies in a Book of Mormon and took it to the city square wrapped with a bow and wearing Santa hats. We each found a family or someone to give it to as a Christmas gift. The lady we talked to was so darling. We had passed her and as she was walking away we stopped her to ask how she was doing. We started talking there in the square and she explained about her grandmother passing away just days before and how hard it was with Christmas.
We talked about how families can be forever and about how the Book of Mormon would not only answer questions she has, but would help her feel Gods love and a peace for her family. We bore testimony and I gave her my Book of Mormon. She cried as she explained that her grandmother had taught her about God and how she would love this book. Right there in the square, we said a little prayer and got her address for the Elders to visit. That is the magic of the Book of Mormon- it truly is written for us today and it truly brings peace.
After our time in the square we had a big huge Christmas dinner with President and Hermana Obeso and the zone. It was a fun night. Then that night we had 6 girls sleeping in one little house- so fun! It was like a sleepover, but we were in bed by 11 and mostly studying the scriptures. Ha-ha but we bought this sweet cream bread and had a fun little breakfast.
Dad we did what you said and went out for a little fun. We had the time for lunch and usually we just buy completos (Chilean hot dogs) when visiting the Hermana’s because they are cheap. But we went to Chinese food. Ooooooh so good. It was truly Christmas Eve. We were crazy spoiled because there is only 1 Chinese restaurant because it’s not common at all. And for that reason it was really, really fun.
After we stuffed ourselves with wantons we took the crazy pretty 4-hour bus ride out of town (its the best. every single part of it is like a little postcard picture) and we went straight to our branch president house for dinner. We feasted and laughed for hours. I love this family so much because they are so, so down to earth and real. We talked about kayaking the whole night. Then they open presents at night not in the morning so we were with the family to do the Santa opening- their son got a nerf gun and I thought the classic Ball family nerf wars (then we went home and opened presents and found neft guns. beeeest!)
But after presents we watched "He is the Gift" and testified. I loved this Christmas.
We headed home and rebelled and were up a little later than normal opening presents and dying laughing. Mom and dad, grandma's and aunt steph- Hermana Segura looooved Christmas. I wish you could have been there.
Especially the stocking was a big hit because they don’t do that here- so we took it one gift at a time, stopping to eat treats, then having a silly string war, turning lights off to see the Christmas lights shine. Everything. When we finished the night Hna S was seriously just smiling and so happy talking again and again how magic this Christmas was. And how true. It was the best Christmas Eve I have ever had in my life. Soo happy and simple and happy and crazy and loving.
The next morning we studied about Christ’s birth and quotes from the apostles. This is what I love about this Christmas. It was so magical and truly filled with Christ’s spirit of love.
We had breakfast with Hermana T- one of our members. And then we went home and decorated the nativity cookie set grandma Simpkins sent.
We had a huge lunch- roasted lamb and everything, with our papitos (branch members) and president's family. And we took the cookies to share. They were all very impressed- ha-ha then they found out they were from a box. But still it was fun to see them so excited. We also played grandmas Uno with the kids. Oh the fun.
Then finally we got to chat with you. I loooove your faces so much. Seriously.
This week we also had piano lessons- they are going really well. I love it. It’s crazy how much help I’m getting because I haven’t played forever.
But also this week was a week of torrential rain. It was crazy. We have had days and nights straight. I sent a picture of the churches bathroom- everywhere we got we have 100 layers. I have never seen anything like this. It’s like a crazy, crazy. The rain cleared a little last night and the clouds cleared and the mountain by our house (seriously right next to it) now has 9 new waterfalls from all the rain. It’s way cool.
We also had the annual Puerto Cisnes end of year fiesta. And oh boy was it a fiesta. I sent a picture of us cooking sopiapillas with Hna t. We cooked up 90.
Then went over and took turn turning the lamb over the fire. It was cool because it was during the day and night rain - but we were under a protection so it was the smell and freshness of rain but then the warmth of the fire and we are all sitting chatting and eating sopiapillas with sausage listening to the classic traditional south of Chile music. DREAMY. I love living in the Patagonia. It’s such a chill way of life.
Then yesterday I gave the talk in church, there are so few of us only two people talk each week. But it was cool because I followed a bit of the outline dad gave for his talk a bit back from Elder Uchtdorf about being grateful in any circumstance. I loved hearing dads words and insights then applying it to mine. It was fun and I sure love you dad.
But it’s so cool in our ward. Because for example, yesterday we had 22 people assist (attend) church and only 9 are not from one family. It’s an abuelita (grandma) and her 3 daughters who are married families. (Our branch pres., our papita/mision lider (ward mission leader) and the primary pres.) Whose family we had lunch with Christmas day. I looove this branch.
Then get this- we taught O and have everything ready for the baptism. Everyone is way excited! We all went to look for the clothes and planned everything. The interview is this week so hopefully everything goes well. The branch is way excited because as I showed it’s like 1 family so to get some new blood in here and it's the first baptism for 2 years so it’s fun and happy.
Well family I got to run. I need to buy a new umbrella because it rained so much this week mine literally broke. Ha-ha.
I love you! Happy New Year (which means happy one year in the mission to me.)
xoxo Hna Ball