It was so fun to see you all this week; we had a really great Christmas here in Paraguay. I have been thinking a lot this week about this past year. I spent the whole year here in Paraguay as a missionary; there is no greater gift I have ever received in my life then my mission.
We were able to go on Christmas Eve and buy food for three families in our branch that don’t have very much. We were able to buy them a lot of food for their dinner and it was so cool to see the look on their faces as we gave them the food. One family I love a lot, Familia Mercado, were so grateful. The mom held me so tight and told me she loves me. They didn’t know what they were going to eat for dinner, here it’s a big deal your Christmas dinner. They had this gross looking soup cooking over the fire. They basically just throw whatever they have in a pot with water, they buy bones to give it the taste of meat. I’m pretty sure that’s what they were going to eat just like every day. I know that what we did was so small. We just fed them for one day but they were just so grateful to be able to make their Christmas special. This same family we had visited a few days before and we found the mom down in the river. It’s funny, they have these wooden seats that are so tiny for little kids here but a lot of people don’t have a lot of chairs so it’s common for adults to sit in them too. I sit in them all the time you’re only like a foot off the ground. I will try and get a pic of me sitting on one. The mom was in the river sitting on one of these tiny chairs washing her clothes. I asked her if the whole neighborhood didn’t have water. Many times when it rains a lot they don’t have electricity or water. She said no just my house. I thought that was weird then I realized you have to pay for water. She told me they hadn’t paid in 5 months so this week they had shut their water off. When I went to give them the food on Christmas I asked if she knew how much she needed to pay to get her water back. It was like 40 dollars. She said “I know that’s a lot. It’s fine. You have already done so much.” I pulled out my wallet and started looking in the money my family had sent me for Christmas. I had exactly 41 dollars. I told her “Look, I have just enough!” It was such a miracle.
It was so beautiful to spend Christmas in the service of others. In the night we went to the hospital with our branch president. We sang to the patients and gave them dinner. My favorite part of this was going to the maternity unit. Well, it was like two rooms of maternity, haha there were two newborn babies and I wish you could have seen the dads’ faces as they looked at their little babies. It made me think of Christ and his humble beginning in the stable. I hope that you all were able to remember Christ this Christmas and the sacrifice He made so that we can all return to live with him. I love you all so much I know it’s hard to be apart during the holidays but I know that it’s worth it. I’m learning so much from the people here about what really matters in our life and what doesn’t matter. Too many times we put more importance in the things that don’t matter.
Que tengan linda semana (I hope you have a great week)