Monday, December 8, 2014

Barrio 5 Christmas


Well, transfers happened and my companion is gone! No! He's heading over to Alcobendas to be the Assistant to the President. We all thought that I would be leaving, there's actually a really funny story about that. J was praying so hard that they would keep me here for another transfer that he neglected the idea of my companion leaving, turns out his prayer was answered! We were really sad but also really excited for the new changes. This will be my 4th transfer in Barrio 5, I'm pumped. Christmas and everything else will be amazing here in B5. My new companion is named Elder D and he is awesome! He's from my big group that entered in the mission way back when as well. He's from Herriman, Utah and I'm really excited to work with him.

My last week with Elder G was awesome. We've set a few really good baptism dates for the end of December and beginning of January. I'm really excited for those, looks like it will still be a white Christmas!

You know it's Christmas time when a drunk homeless man comes up to you in the street and says, "I'm Santa Clause! Oh ya!" He's actually a really good buddy of ours.

Last preparation day we went to... THE HARD ROCK CAFE! Woo hoo! Yes, there is one in Spain and it was awesome. Haven't had a burger like that since the States. That brought back some great memories for the both of us.

On Tuesday we headed over to Alcobendas again for another leadership council. The Christmas tree was up in the mission home and there definitely was a warm feeling there. We were inspired by President's teachings as always and we sang plenty of Christmas songs. I actually want to share one of President's stories:

It was about a week or so before Christmas and President had a huge exam in college coming up the next day. He had dedicated the day before the test to spend all the time he could studying. He woke up that day and received a phone call from his sister. She asked him if he could help her pick out a Christmas present for her fiance. He knew he needed to study but he decided that it probably wouldn't take too long and that he could help out his sister. He went with her and quickly realized that sometimes shopping with women takes a little longer than you think. After that, he went to deliver something to his other sister, who unfortunately, wasn't at home. He went to the place where she worked (Primary Children's Hospital) to see if she was there, and she was! She wanted to show him a few things she did as a nurse and had him hold a new born baby who was born a few weeks early. He said he held that little baby in the palm of his hand! Realizing it was 4 in the afternoon and that he hadn't studied at all, he decided to head on home. He walked outside into a blizzard and starting walking towards his car. He saw an older woman next to the back of her car looking at her tire in distress. Her tire was popped. He started looking for a way to walk by without her seeing him because he knew he needed to study! He felt bad and decided to help her. He jacked the car up and it started sliding forward so he had to put rocks in front of the front tires. After he was finished it was dark. The old woman gave him the biggest hug and it was actually so cold that their faces stuck together! He went and got into his car and started to drive him. He realized how late it was and that he would have almost no time to study. He pulled over on the side of the road and started to cry. He then decided to say a prayer and thank Heavenly Father for all the opportunities to serve He had given him. He felt peace and very relaxed going in to his test the next day. We assume that he passed it because he's a surgeon now! He taught us that we need to always remember to think of others. He told us that especially students can become really selfish if they don't take time to think of others. It was an emotional heart-warming story.

President brought out his accordion at the end and started playing Christmas songs. We all sang along to Silver Bells, Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and many more songs. It was awesome. I also found out that the family of a little girl I baptized in Oviedo is going to be sealed next year because the dad finally was baptized! Eternal Family!

The Zone Training went really well the next day. Before the meeting my companion and I decided to say a prayer. No rooms were open so we went into the nearest elevator, pushed the up button and started to pray. My companion said it felt like we were being lifted up to heaven. In the meeting we focused on two very important things: Christmas and Families. The spirit was so strong. Families can be together forever thanks to our loving Savior Jesus Christ.

J is still doing awesome. He was really sad about Elder G leaving.. Let's face it, we were all really sad. We had some great times together over this last week. Javier actually told us about a girl he likes! We threatened to tell her about it while we were walking out the door and he chased us down 5 flights of stairs in his building. It was probably one of the most frightening, hilarious moments of my life. He's fast.

We've been teaching our awesome Bolivian family. We actually just set a baptism date with the little 9 year old. He's awesome! We watched part of the Joseph Smith movie and the first thing he says was, "Look! Chickens!" (When it showed them feeding little chicks) So funny. He's really excited to learn about the Gospel and this family is ready to be active again!

We met with our Brazilian friend, W, again and we had some more Avocado shakes. He loves the piano so I decided to play Silent Night for him. He loved it and actually started clapping while saying, "Congratulations! Congratulations!" He's hilarious. W told us the following about the church, "I don't like it, I don't love it, I DO love it!" Great guy.

Our Nicaraguan Boxer investigator who is going to be baptized on the 27th of December shared something really special with us. Over the last month he's been reading the Book of Mormon and he's in Moroni now, just about to finish the book. He currently doesn't have a job and is living in the streets on and off. He told us that the Book of Mormon has helped him get through some hard cold nights. He said it has been such a comfort to him. I love that guy. The Gospel is changing his life.

We ended the week with stake conference on Sunday over in Pavones. We saw so many good people and friends there. I actually saw one of my teachers from the MTC with her happy family. That was a special moment for me to see all of them again. We would do role play teaching with her and another teacher I had. She always said that she had a "son" named Diego. I finally got to meet the real Diego!

My companion and I were studying some awesome teaching by Gordon B. Hinckley this week. He said, "If you think someone isn't prepared for a calling, think about how unprepared you felt for your calling." This is very true.

I'm feeling happy and ready for Christmas! I hope you all have a fantastic week! I love you!

Elder Giforos

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