Wellllll HAPPY NEW YEAR (basically)!!!! This week was yet another pretty crazy week, and it's amazing that it was just a few days ago that we talked! Seems like forever ago! I did love talking to and Skyping you so much, and I am so glad to hear that everyone had a great Christmas. One more phone call... :O Crazy stuff. I laughed so hard when I found out that the Sanchez family actually went to visit you! So funny. They couldn't stop talking about how much fun they had and how they felt so great there. Thank you for being so great to them...I was a little weirded out about the fact that my mission life and my real life just collided...it was weird. haha I am so happy you all had a great time, though. We'll visit them again when I get home for sure!
Christmas here was AWESOME! We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas running around and visiting different members from the ward. I love all the families in Anaheim 11th, and I wish I could have had time to visit them all, but it was good that I at least was able to have a good time with some! From caroling to dropping off "Santa's presents" to making tamales to calling home to playing card games to opening presents, it was all just such a blast! I love the ward so much and I was so glad to be able to spend Christmas with them one last time. They are all so great and I really look forward to visiting them after my mission. By the way, the Sanchez want a raincheck on that Christmas dinner for next year. ;) I love Christmas! The Spirit was so wonderful, and I loved sharing over and over the story of Christmas as we went caroling to those in need. It felt so good to give and be chosen to respresent the One we remember. What a special time of year! The only downside of the week...I'm pretty sure I gained 10 pounds....yikes! Oh well, I only get two of these in my life! :) I can't wait until visiting next year. :)
Now as we end this year and prepare ourselves for the next, I hope we all take the time to sit down and set goals for ourselves. As human beings, we are constantly changing, whereas our Heavenly Father is the same yesterday, today and forever. He wants us to strive to be like Him, and for that reason, we are able to constanly change and do all that we can to be like Him. He wants us to make it back to Him forever, and it is only through Jesus Christ that we are able to make it there. Daily, we should try to be more like our Savior and use his Atonement so that we can ready to return back into God's presence. We are so blessed to have this wonderful gift-now we each need to use it and apply it to our lives. I have seen so much change out here-not only in the people I teach, but also in myself, and I know that it is possible through this gospel to acheive perfection. I know that it will not be in this life, but we can all acheive the high expectations of our Heavenly Father if we just submit to His will and let Him guide us. I sure hope we all push hard to set goals and reach them this coming year! I'm so excited!
Now........for the BIG info. Transfers...duh duh duh. Well, by reading the title of this email, I am sure you are lead to understand that this transfer is full of changes! Well, if that is what you are thinking, then my plan worked... As for Elder Richards, sadly enough, he will be leaving me after 9 1/2 months together. I have been with him since the beginning of his mission, and now he is spreading his wings, and moving on. He grew up so fast! ha He's a great missionary, and he will move on to do great and powerful things. Just so happens, he and I are serving "mirror" missions. He is going to Santa Ana 5, where I started, and he switched places with Elder Urrutia. And Elder Urrutia is following right behind me! He started his mission in Santa Ana 5 like I did, and he has now moved to Anaheim 11th just like I did. He is a way cool elder and he is now with Elder Dehlin. They are going to do an AWESOME job!
Now.........as for me! I............am............staying! hahaha It may sound crazy, but I will be here for another 3 solid months. Why so sure of 3 months, you ask? Because I will be training. Currently, I am just waiting to receive the call from the Assistants to go pick up my son (missionary term), fresh from the Mexico MTC. This is going to be great! I am going to be a father! ;) I am very excited to stay here for over a year-I've talked to Bishop about transferrring my records. We'll see what he says. ;) I love this ward and I love this area. As we were waiting for transfer calls, I started to have a little bit of an anxiety attack. I had been telling everyone that I was probably leaving, but it wasn't until I was waiting that I realized I really don't want to leave this ward! It has become my family, and I am so excited to help another missionary fall in love with it and serve it as well. More time with them it alright with me! :) SO here I stay. Still in Anaheim 11th, moving back into my same apartment (I moved out for 11 days after Elder Smith left), and still District Leader. So, Mom and Dad DON'T GO VISITING THE SANCHEZES! ;) I love this District, though, and I already know I am going to love my son. I will send pics with him next week!
I hope you all had a great Christmas Holiday and I hope you really do take the chance to set goals and remember what our focus is in life. I sure love this gospel and all that it teaches! This here is one of my favorite Mormon Messages. I know I probably shared it last year, but I just love the message it shares. Don't look back, just keep going. Learn from your mistakes and move on. We can change. Now let's keep trying our best to be our best. Love you all so much and I can't wait to talk to you again soon. Take care and have a Happy New Year! :)
"You can't move back, so you might as well look forward in the best way you can. Anybody can chose to change. Leave the past behind and look ahead to a brighter future. It's a new year. Don't look back." from the Mormon Message (I know, same quote from last year, but I just love it so much! :))
Pic 1 and 2- Evidently, it's tradition with the Badillos to smash open a Santa Piñata on Christmas Eve ha-not sure why...
Pic 3- Our awkward early-morning companionship Christmas hug haha
Pic 4- I know...terrible picture! But thank you for the new scriptures and ALL the presents I got. I loved them all!
Pic 5- Sure loved Skyping you! Merry Christmas! :)
Pic 6 and 7- Making tamales with the Peruvian Sanchezes! :)
Pic 8 through 11- Awesome wooden plaques the Badillos made for us for Christmas! They're so awesome!
Pic 12- Anaheim 11th at the end of this transfer. Happy New Year!