Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Already?

It sure seems strange that it's already Christmas.  It was weird enough turning 18 months on Saturday.  Time is just an interesting thing.  Anyway, things are going alright here.  Missionary work is still slow, but it's going a little better.  We're finally starting to figure out how to get more referrals, but none of them are interested.  Other than that, finding through our own efforts hasn't produced any semblance of fruits, and things are still rough in that aspect.  It doesn't help that my companion is also fairly disobedient.  I was hoping that, being a new missionary, he wouldn't have fallen into those habits yet.  He's essentially a personality replica of Elder Sotelo.  That makes things hard, especially when he doesn't take any kind of correction well at all.  I tried to let him know very nicely that we need to wake up at 6:30 and he gave me a half hour of excuses and off topic stories from the MTC that essentially ended in "I know we need to get up at 6:30, but I don't because it's hard".  I would give anything to have another Elder Peña right now, but I guess this is my lot in the mission: disobedient companions that love losing time with members.  I'm trying as hard as I can to love him and teach him, but I know I can only do so much.
The good news is that I feel like I'm making a lot of personal progress.  I've started taking the small PMG that Brig gave me everywhere and studying any spare moment we have, and it's been helping a lot.  As much as I've learned during the last 18 months, there's just so much more that I still need to learn, and I'm getting a good start on that.  We finally got the conference Liahona as well, and that was a welcome new reading material.  I have conference issues back to 2008, but there's nothing like the most recent issue to bring the Spirit.  I'll finish the Book of Mormon tomorrow morning as well, and then I get to figure out how I'm going to make time to read the standard works one more time before I finish while still studying PMG and for our few investigators and what not.  I think daily personal study won't be a difficult thing when I get home.
We had our missionary Christmas devotional on Friday, which was good.  We always do a tie exchange, and Elder Gaytan sent me a tie as well (I secretly gave him one when he left, too), and the one from the exchange and the one he sent are the exact same tie.  Sweet.  Just one more present that I can give away.  All the Call family came, so that was fun, and they put on a good program for us, even though they had lots of screaming children.  It took me right back to Utah where there actually are lots of children.  The good news is that I also got a letter from Sharon after not having heard from her in a while, but the bad news is that it was the only letter I got.  I haven't heard from Alyssa in several weeks despite having had many opportunities to get mail.  That was a bit of a downer, but the conference Liahona made me happy.
That's great that Lys had her baby.  Mom thinks he's tiny, but according to Lys's stats, he was pretty big.  21 inches and 8 lb 3 oz.  That's longer than I was and only a little bit lighter.  Anyway, I'm pretty excited to meet the little guy tomorrow.  I'll be excited to meet Scott and Alicia's new baby, but in May as well.  Speaking of those two couples, happy anniversaries to both of you.  If I remember correctly, Scott and Alicia was the 16, and Lys and Manuel was the 20.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but either way, congratulations on babies and still being married.  I liked that experience that Dad shared.  There's just no feeling like giving of yourself to help others.  I'm also really glad that you're working again.
Skype will be at 7:30 my time.  I realized I forgot to specify after writing last week.  That'll be 6:30 your time.  Thanks for making sure Alyssa knows.  I'll appreciate it very much.  
I know that this gospel is true.  It is the only true gospel, and the only way that we can return to the Father's presence.  I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior.  His Atonement is infinite, and we are all included, not only in the culmination of His suffering, but also in the bounteous mercy and grace that flow from Him as a result.  I know that we can all be lifted by Him, the Holy One of Israel, if we will but come unto Him.  There is simply no other peace that will suffice in our trials aside from that promised by the Savior Himself: "Peace I leave with you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you".  Peace has been taken from the world as a sign of the second coming.  We can only find peach through the very Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.  I testify that His mercy and grace are always sufficient for us, and we are never forgotten.  No matter how alone we may feel, He is always waiting with open arms to receive us.  I know that as we strive with all our heart, might, mind, and strength to follow Him, we will be encircled about in the arms of His everlasting love.  I know that God's plan for us is real, and it allows us to receive the greatest blessings in this life and eternity: an eternal family living in His presence, becoming as He is.  That is true happiness, and the world can never give that.
A very Merry Christmas to you all, remembering why we celebrate this special day (If you've forgotten, you may read the preceeding paragraph).  I'm very excited to see you and talk to you tomorrow.

Elder Facer


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