I had a wonderful Christmas here in Argentina! All of us elders in the office had dinner with President Ávila and his family on Christmas Eve. His house was decorated very nicely and the spirit in his house made me feel at home.
The evening started out with a family home evening style lesson on the Savior's birth and went into His life. It was very uplifting and President Ávila invited me and another elder, Elder Rabanales from Guatamala, to share our testimonies of the Savior.
Afterwards we had a multiple course meal that Hermana Ávila and her children had prepared for us. The food and desserts all hit the spot! When the meal was over we attempted playing mafia but everyone was tired and no one really knew how to play... so we ended up just having a good laugh.
The night really put me into the Christmas spirit and I felt enriched and whole after leaving their house because of it. Those feelings lasted through Christmas day (as well as the wonderful chat I had with my family on skype) and I realized something very important when I went to bed that night..
On Christmas night I reflected a bit on what a normal Christmas is like in the states...
1. More reflections on the Savior and His life (some families may do special devotionals)
2. The family gathered together
3. Christmas music
4. Multiple delicious meals and leftovers (I miss eggnog)
6. Christmas lights
... just to name a few of the things that came to mind right away. I then realized that this Christmas I was just as happy as I have ever been without a majority of those things. The only things I had were my thoughts dedicated towards the Savior and my family (over skype). With those simple things I may have had one of the best Christmas days of my life. It majorly put into perspective for me the importance of the other trivial things we now associate with Christmas. Don't get me wrong, I love all of those other things and will continue involve them in the future with Christmas, but I realized that Christmas can really be fulfilling with so little.
On Thursday we took a trip up to a northern province in the mission called San Juan. It's the first time I have stepped foot out of the province of Mendoza since being on my mission. It was nice to go somewhere new and see a different culture of people. The people in San Juan are known for being very open and friendly. I got to see if it was all that everyone cracked it up to be and it surely was. The people there, in general, are very open, kind, and respectful. They also have a very funny accent. I spent a couple of good days up there and I am now hoping to make it up there myself one day :)
Well, today is Monday and I am without a companion. He boarded a plane this morning to head back home after serving his two years faithfully. I learned a lot from Elder Sorenson and I am happy to see him animated to see his family and move on to the next steps in life. I am still not 100% positive about what is going to happen to me but I'll let you all know next week.
Love you all and my prayers for you as well as you start your new year!
- Elder Rainock
Us singing the national anthem at the Christmas party. I am right above the picture of the American flag on the ipad :)
My second companion, Elder Quadros, and I at the Christmas party together.
after packing up the track with all the decorations and stuff from the party
Some reindeer cookies that Hermana Ashby (the mission nurse) made for us for the dinner.
after the Christmas dinner at President's house