It’s the Christmas season once again here in Piura and we all know what that means: more heat! Yeah, here in Peru they have Christmas during the summer season, while we over in the States celebrate Christmas during the winter. Go figure. So the whole White Christmas thing is basically a myth here but hot or cold, Christmas is Christmas and the spirit is all the same. Although hot chocolate is basically out of the question now…
The church has come out with a new Christmas initiative called Light the World, or in Spanish, “Ilumina el Mundo”. The video is beautiful and carries with it a heartwarming message. If you haven’t seen it yet, do so. And if you have seen it, share it with someone.
Elder Underwood and I are using the video to enter houses and find new investigators. The video, along with our Christmas caroling and oh so charming smiles, have been working wonders in our area. Yesterday we found 4 new investigators just by showing the video and singing Oh Come All Ye Faithful for an old grandma. Christmas miracles.
In our area, we are focusing a lot on service for the Christmas season. The past week we did 2 service projects with a very poor, single mother of 4 children named Dionila. Her children range from 2 years old to 7. She initially didn’t want much to do with our message but upon observing her house, we got an idea. We asked to go into her backyard, did some analyzing and Elder Underwood said, “Dude, we are so doing a service project here”. And we did.
With the whole zone we tore down the broken back wall of her house, cleaned out all the trash, weeded out the overgrown plants, built up a new wall and shoveled out the old dirt (her floor is made of dirt by the way) and refilled the floor. It was a 2 days process and a lot of work but we got it all done and wow was she happy. I remember when we first met her, all she would talk about was the negative things of her life. She is living on 20 soles a day, which I guess in the states would be something like 6 or 7 dollars. Her ex husband doesn’t pay her what he legally should, and on many occasions he comes by and she reports that he beats her. She has few friends, and even fewer supportive family members. I don’t think I have heard her say one positive thing about her life since I have met her. That, all on top of having to care for her 4 little children, makes life quite a struggle for her. I remember looking over my shoulder and seeing Dionila cry to the sister missionaries about her problems and the hopelessness of her life. As we labored in her home, I couldn’t help but feel a Christ like love for this family. It was hot, there was a lot of dirt, and I was beyond tired, but through it all, I couldn’t help but smile. It was an even greater joy when her little children went out into their new backyard and just started to play. It was the first time in their life they had room to play in their home. Those smiles, are the blessings of missionary work. Seeing the look of happiness on someone’s face is more than enough for me.
It is heart wrenching to see the situation of the people her in Piura sometimes. There are many broken families, and even more broken hearts, but we are thankful that we could bring a little sunshine (and a new backyard) to her life. I am thankful for the healing power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and this Christmas season, that’s the best and only gift that we as missionaries will be carrying around this season. And what an amazing gift it is.