Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas! What a Week. Great Week.

(Emailed to Friends)
It's been a long, hard week, but it's been fantastic.  Really loved it.  I'll do a day by day breakdown now.  Here we go.

Monday night.  We went to a FHE and Elder Decker managed to cook a birthday cake without me knowing.  Awesome surprise.  Made my day.  I got to blow out the candles and they sang happy birthday in Spanish and everything.  Great day.  That night was really hard though.  Tears were shed.  First birthday without the family.  Made it through it though.

Tuesday.  My first full day intercambios/splits.  Way fun.  I was with Elder Pena.  He's Dominican and is 25 years old.  Has been a member for 3 years and the friends who invited him to church are now inactive.  Crazy crazy stuff.  It was good.  A lot easier than I expected.  We had 11 lessons which is solid.

Wednesday.  Dead day.  Christmas Eve and all.  Here (and in a lot of Latino countries) the tradition is to have a huge dinner the 24th.  Like their Thanksgiving.  All of the 24th is spent preparing for it, so really hard to teach.  Elder Romero knew this so we didn't try too hard to find people.  We had a few lessons, he got a haircut, we set up Skype at our internet place, and we bought presents for Elder Pawn and Decker.  Bought a ball pump and Spam for them.  Both were good presents.  We then had a cena or one of those big dinners with an inactive family.  Really good food.

Thursday.  Christmas!  We wrapped their presents and put a note on it from Santa.  It was really cool.  I liked that.  Another Dominican tradition is to party and drink hard Christmas Eve, so we had to come back early at night and couldn't work in the morning.  We slept in, opened presents (my family is the best!), and then I taught a few lessons with Elder Decker.  We did a quick splits.  Then we had dinner with the patriarch’s family.  Super good too.  Tons of food and tons of leftovers.  LOVED IT.  Good Christmas overall.

Friday.  We had a district meeting.  The zone did a gift exchange, white elephant, and I ended up with a little wooden turtle.  Pretty cool.  I got TONS of letters.  Thank you everyone in the ward!  And family again!  Made my day.  Really really awesome.  Then I called home.  It was fantastic.  It felt great to talk to everyone and see how they were doing.  Skype worked well.  Definitely a highlight of my week!  Obviously.

Saturday.  We did service at a member’s house.  We painted a ton of their house.  Really really fun.  I enjoyed that.  Something different to do.  Then that night we had the English class.  It was good.  Normal.  8 or 9 people came.


Sunday.  Only a few investigators at church.  We had some solid lessons with members.  Really enjoyed those.  Put two baptism dates too!  Pretty sure ones too.  Awesome.  We've been waiting forever for this.  Hopefully we'll be able to put some more next Monday as well.

Today.  We played basketball with some wardies this morning.  Way way fun.  I enjoyed that a ton.  Then we just relaxed in the house.  Good day.

Other thoughts from the week.

I really enjoyed teaching about Christmas this week.  Shared Luke 2, Isaiah 9:6, and John 3:16 a ton of times.  I really really enjoyed those lessons.

The Dilone Family is progressing well.  At least the mom and her daughter.  They read a few verses of the BOFM together before bed (the parents) and she stopped drinking coffee.  The only problem is they aren't married and I don't think he wants to be.  She would if he would.  Really frustrating cuz they are really close.  They also gave us some ties for Christmas which was really awesome.


Really cool story an investigator told us this week.  She said she was praying for direction, that the Lord would send her an angel to guide her or something, and then we showed up on her doorstep shouting her name.  We were looking for a reference, but found her.  (She has the same name).  Kinda cool.  Really cool actually.

Well that's my week!   Hope you all really enjoyed your Christmas's!  Nothing better like a mission Christmas honestly.

Love you tons!  Enjoy your guys New Year’s!
Elder Easton Potokar.

(Emailed to Family)
Sounds like you guys had a fantastic week!  I'm glad you enjoyed it.  I'm sad Garrett was sick.  Sounds like it was a rough Christmas for him.  Definitely not one he'll forget though haha.

(The lights were amazing as usual, and the Christus is just so humbling to see.) I'm jealous of the Christus too.  That's really amazing.  SO pretty.  I loved going to see that.

Homesickness wise, I'm doing better than I thought.  Really though, my drive and motivation to work has been coming back this week and it feels amazing.  Really incredible.  I love it.  It's been a while since I've felt that.

Talking to you guys was definitely the highlight of my week as well.  I loved it.  It was the best.  I really wish I could've talked for longer, but I'm thankful I got to talk for as long as I did.  I had troubles saying goodbye as well.  Lots of them.

The highlight of my week was probably bringing Paula and Victor dinner.  Missionary work wise at least.  Really cool.  Not super amazing, but just felt good.

Painting went well.  I wasn't too terrible, but definitely didn't know what I was doing haha!  I did get paint all over my shirt and shorts, but not too bad.  It was really fun though.  Something different to do.

One other thought on Christmas.  Honestly, it felt more like a fourth of July.  With the heat and all the partying.

(This Friday is your "bump" day!) I've never heard that term, or of any traditions.  Just another day haha.  I've heard of burning a shirt on the year mark though.  I'll buy something good though.  A treat or something to celebrate.  It's weird to think this was about the time Elder Decker showed up in our house.  He seemed to know so much!  Weird that I'm almost there.

(Cameron Crittenden’s dad was the other speaker with Kenny. He even mentioned some of the questions Cameron had as he started into the field. Like, I feel like we are just thrown out here and expected to baptize. Where do we start? What is a good missionary? How can I be effective right now? Do these sound familiar?) I had a lot of the same questions as Cameron.  Like I really knew nothing about missionary work. I hope I'm actually touching people here!  Sometimes I feel like that with Elder Romero.  We're both really new, and sometimes it feels like we're just floundering around and not getting too much done. It’s hard to know how to really be effective. Putting a solid fecha day felt good though.  Felt right.  I know I'll get more confidence in it in time though.  It'll keep coming and I'll get a feel for it.  Hard to know what's the most effective way to use your time.

We only had 2 at church.  Freisy (part of the Dilone or Nicolas’s family) and another friend of a member.  That's it.  Very disappointing Sunday.  Paula and Victor weren't there either which was disappointing.

We set the dates for Hno Renoso's daughter.  Carolina.  And her daughter, Rochelle.  Really easy baptisms.  Basically were handed to us.  The date for now is January 17.  It's coming to come up quick.

Also my motivation is kicking back in! It's finally getting focused on missionary work.  It's probably too competitive/pride based, but it's better than nothing.  Hopefully it'll become more charity based in time.

I believe that was on Monday.  The family night when they brought me my cake.  They are young men in the ward.  A couple are ward missionaries.

(Are the jungle pictures taken outside of the patriarch's?) Yes they are.  They are the last house on the street.

Inside is with the Family Castro.  Their sons served missions, but they are inactive now.  One of their sons was ward mission leader and is now president of the young men.

(The picture with your birthday cake; is that ice cream in the pan or mashed potatoes?) Ice cream.  The thing we bought it in was too big, so we had to put it in different containers to fit in the freezer and that's what we ended up with. We ran out of whipped cream for the cake too, but it was still excellente.  Loved it soooo much. Sounds like it was a good week!  Love you guys tons.  Like always, if you have any questions feel free to ask.

Great memories were made this week.  I really enjoyed it.  Long, but good.
Love and miss you tons.  Elder Easton Potokar.

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