We're writing really late this week because the computer place has been closed for the holidays, so I'm just going to write as if it were Monday anyway (that way I can have more than half a week to write about come Monday).
So last Monday, the twenty-third, we had a Christmas party with the entire mission in Resistencia. So I was able to see all the missionaries that I've met, but I also realized that I don't know the majority of the missionaries that are in this mission anymore. President Heyman said that of the current two-hundred and fifty-two missionaries that we have, one-hundred and seventy-two have arrived in the last six months. So I guess that I'm old in the mission, but I don't feel like I've been here for that long.
It was also on Monday at the Christmas party that I meet my third companion, Elder Bell. Our apartment isn't met for three people and we didn't have a third bed. or even a mattress, so for that first night I just put a big, thick blanket on the table and slept there and let Elder Bell sleep in my bed. The next morning on Tuesday, we bought a closet for Elder Bell to store his clothes and another mattress.
I told him that it was his Christmas gift and his said that it was the best Christmas ever because for the last week he had been living with some other missionaries in an apartment without air conditioning or running water; so he had to use the same set of clothes for five days and couldn't escape from the heat. So the changes and the purchases that we made were a pleasant change for him.
So remember that Christmas Eve is when all the parties happen here in Argentina, but we still had the restriction of having to be in the apartment at eight o'clock and we couldn't go anywhere to eat with members. So one of the young women from the branch brought us a bunch of food to eat (chicken, potatoes, sweet bread, fruit salad, soda, candy, etc...) But when she got to our apartment she was distressed and just simply not doing well. So we asked what was wrong and she said that her family was fighting back at her home instead of celebrating the evening together. So we invited her to stay and eat dinner with us for the night.
She happily accepted, so we put a table outside and we all ate together, talked, sang hymns, and played board games until midnight when we watched the fireworks. It was a really good experience and it helped her to feel better; she said that it helped her, "to remember the true spirit of Christmas."
The next day, we got up and went to the chapel to make our phone calls home. While Elder Bell was talking to his family, I had some interviews to do with some members that had requested interviews. Elder Diaz, unfortunately, was only able to talk with his family for seven minutes that day. His card had the same problem that mine had in that it only gave him very little time, but it just didn't work at all for him. So we're now going to have to plan another time for his parents to call from Peru so that they can talk.
We've started to work with Martha again. She still has that fear that her life won't change if she gets baptized. What she has told us and what she sees is what we're seeing with her as well; every time that she tries to do what's right and the really put forth a great effort to keep the commandments there is always a new, bigger trial awaiting her. So we're trying to help her increase in her understanding of the plan of salvation and the Atonement. She came to church this last Sunday after having missed a couple for weeks, so that was really good for her. Now she is preparing to be baptized on the twenty-fifth of this month.
Sadly our trio didn't last long; Elder Bell has a condition that affects him in the heat and has to get some doctors appointments to figure out what is wrong, so President Heyman moved him to Resistencia to be closer to the hospitals. So it's good for him that he'll be taken care of medically, but we were sad to see him go just as much as he wanted to stay with us.