Christmas Eve was lovely at the Amaya home. They invited all of us from the office over and we enjoyed delicious food, a spiritual message, Christmas hymns, happy conversation, and lots of laughter. President Amaya has always taught and always teaches the missionaries that the three keys to having a successful missionary are
1. Concentrate your mind on the mission
2. Submerge yourself in Preach My Gospel
3. Have your Missionary Purpose between your eyebrows at all times.
Thus we decided to have a little fun and made him this Christmas card of the three pillars and gave it to them. It was a hit. He and his family died laughing and absolutely loved it. He said he was going to scan it and send it to the missionaries so that they never forget those three principles. Also, we had bought President some Chex Mix a few months ago and he LOVED them and kept saying how wonderful and tasty they were. They only sale two flavors here so I asked a favor of my family and they sent us a ton of different flavors of Chex Mix (thanks again :) very much) and we wrapped them all up with the card and gave it to them on Christmas Eve. He opened a bag up right there and couldn't stop talking about how tasty those things are haha he said that it was the great pride of the gringos haha good stuff.
Every Christmas Eve that I can remember has had a manger scene acted out while reading the Bible and I convinced the office that it just wouldn't be right that 2013 be any different and so we had a good time acting out the nativity scene when we got back from President's house (maybe he'll join us next time) and it was lots of fun and we finished it by singing Silent Night. Great experience.
I would like to finish with two things that come to mind. First, never give up on anyone. No matter how many times they let you down or fail, never lose faith in people. Keep following the prophetic counsel at all times to see people not as they are but as they can become. I have had many experiences in this week that have helped me remember this important principle. One of the companionships here was having a lot of problems and although we had talked with them and committed them to improve, communicate, be positive, serve each other, etc. They weren't going any where and in fact they had only gotten worse and it finally got to the point that I lost hope in them and felt that we needed to tell President that this just wasn't going to work.... but then that very same day just a few hours before I would've called President, one of the missionaries of that companionship told me that he needed help and humbly asked me for advice on how to improve. My heart melted. I was truly touched and felt an overwhelming Spirit of love and kindness and a desire to help him and a real hope that he was going to change. We went into another room and I listened to him and listened to the Spirit and we reached some important conclusions and reviewed important principles. And he HAS IMPROVED! WOOHOO! HALLELUJAH!
Lastly please never hold grudges. It simply isn't worth it. Too many people are plagued by the justification that ¨oh but its just that for me its hard to forgive that quickly¨ ¨Oh but this is something special, my case is different.¨ Its not hard. It is much easier and less painful than holding a grudge. Don't carry that heavy weight, give it up. Let go and choose the easier way (Matthew 11:28-30). The Lord is very clear that we need to forgive easily, quickly, and always and we'll be happier (D&C 64:9-12)