Well it's 2016. I've learned a lot in this last five months of the mission in 2015 and well there's still so much to learn as well as strengthen in this coming year. Starting with this letter I'm going to tell you how they do new years in Espinal (or pretty much all of Veracruz). The people make these mannequins called viejos. It's like a person that is the year 2015. He's old and normally his clothes are all dirty and nasty and well he's normally stuffed with corn, wood, paper, and of course fireworks (: and at midnight everyone goes outside and burns their viejo. And with lots of fireworks and fire the year 2015 is done and it's time for 2016. Also they have a dinner at like 11:30 with the family and lots of Coke. And then afterwards it's just tons of very dangerous fireworks until they run out or someone gets hurt.
Anyway it was an awesome time for me as we spent this day with members and investigators and talked a lot about becoming new people, setting goals and then acting on them. Because it's super easy I know to put our new year goals and by January 10th we are back to our old ways. (it's just as easy here to do the same) but keep this in mind as I tell you about the really cool thing that happened this week. This Sunday we baptized a joven. The experience was really cool as we got to baptize in the nearby branch called Agua Dulce (sweet water) and they actually have a church building to meet in! Even though it is super small it was nice to be in a building again hahaha. Well we had the baptism and everything went great. Normally after the baptism we give a little time to the person to share a small testimony or experience that they have had while learning or reading or something. She said this, "I know what I'm doing is right and what better way to start my new year off than by being a new person. I'm ready to start following Jesus Christ more and show him that I really want this." Not going to lie pretty much all of us started to cry a little. She has been taking lessons from the missionaries for like 6 or so months. Since before I came to the mission. But to hear from her mother about the changes she has seen and then this awesome testimony that shes going to keep on working, to keep being better and not just say it, but do it. All throughout our lessons with her she always says I wanna go to the temple. She has tons of pictures in her house and always wants drawings of temples and such. She's already planning to do baptisms for the dead for some of her deceased family members.
For this year we don't need to pick something huge to change and then end up leaving it behind in a month or two. I would challenge all of you to make a new years goal (if you haven't already) but make this one more special. Make it to strengthen yourself spiritually. And then write it down and keep it safe. Maybe in your scriptures or in the top drawer where the socks are (; but then that way it's not just something we say or try for a while. But something that you can try and work toward for the whole year. I know there's blessings waiting for you. Les amo y cuidense mucho!!