I haven't really gotten any Christmas Cheer from anywhere.. our district got into some fights about what to do for Christmas and while we wanted to stay together some wanted to go to one place and others wanted to go others.. and all in all it was just hard. I think this is the first year I can remember that I wasn't able to go Christmas caroling and I really can't say how much I missed that. The whole Christmas spirit of singing songs, harmonizing with brothers and sisters and just really feeling at home. I think I really missed that more than anything.. and there's no way I can go back in time and change that.
Despite my feelings of sadness and trying to keep my head above the rising water I managed to find a small, even if almost insignificant, way of keeping the almost dead Christmas spirit alive. I dipped into my personal funds and through the last few weeks have been saving up candies, cookies and other treats. On Christmas eve I woke up at 3am to put it all together in little stockings and gift bags together with a card game and a nice tie.. I know it wasn't much.. and because most are latinos they didn't even really get the whole concept of waking up and opening the Christmas presents, for them it's more of a Christmas eve thing.. they were almost confused looking.. but even if it didn't mean anything from them I'm glad I had the chance to do it.
I'm coming to the end of my mission and I've really started to look back and see all the Lord's done with me. I may not be the perfect missionary.. or even a really good missionary. I suck at teaching, I'm not good at committing people and I think I might be too patient with them. I can't seem to ever get my investigators to pass the "Preparing" stage and move on to the getting wet stage. All in all I don't know if I could honestly say my mission has made a huge difference on all those I've met.. but it most definitely has had an effect on me and on my personal conversion.
In these past 20 months I've learned countless things about myself and about the gospel. I've learned about the true nature of God, the plan of our salvation and not only that but countless things about what things were like BEFORE the plan of salvation and what things will be like after this plan is completed. I've learned a lot about my mind, my body, my weaknesses and a little about my strengths. I've learned how to be more patient (although I think that will be something I'll always be working on), how to trust more in the Lord, how to have a little more faith, how to be true to what I believe and more than anything be true to myself.
My plea to extend my mission has been cordially declined.. so that means I'll be back home no later than March 19th.. probably about 2-3 in the afternoon.. That's if my 7 1/2 months in the office have really paid off. but it's weird to be this close. I don't feel like it's my time. I'm still missing something.. but if they declined my extension it's for something.. maybe the something I'm missing is at home waiting for me.. It'll be like "the Embark.. part. 2".