|(She sends me her calendar "fortunes" once in a while)|
My dear Jamie,
I did it! I made it through Christmas without watching “White Christmas” or “It’s A Wonderful Life” and I didn’t cry! YAAAY!!! (Though that did not stop me from quoting them both all month long.) By the time you get this I’ll have almost reached my year mark…that’s insane. If I could do a side-by-side comparison of myself from who I was a year ago to today, I’m sure there’d be a significant contrast, even though I don’t feel like I’ve really changed all that much. By the way, I still need to see pictures of you! The most current photos I have are from January and I’m willing to bet there have been some slight changes in a year’s time. It’s unfair of me to ask you for anything seeing as you’ve been an angel by sending me so many cards, letters and packages already, but it would make me happy beyond belief to see your beautiful face.
Speaking of seeing beautiful faces, I got to SKYPE with my family for Christmas! It was crazy – like I was transported back home for an hour. I saw my Mom, my Dad, Katie, Dave, Samantha and little Taylor whom I have never before met. I even got my parents to show me the Christmas tree and the new deck they put in, so in a way I really did get to be “home for Christmas!” It was near. The funny thing is that far from making me homesick and trunky like I thought, it made me realize how much I really love Panama. Truthfully, I really look forward to being home. I miss you all so much. But…I know I’m going to ache for Panama shortly after I get back. Even though sometimes I’m just counting the days ‘til I get home, I really don’t know what I’m going to do when I leave here.
So…I have a little piece of noticias that I think I better tell you…Remember when I said my return date was going to be around June 30th? Well…it’s now looking like it’ll be around August 11th. The way my 18-month mark works, I have to choose to either go home 3 weeks early or 3 weeks later. Since my proselyte card says “June 28” I just figured I’d be going home in June. But my mission mother, Sister Ward, called me the other night and said “the people in Salt Lake” say I have to choose which transfer I want to leave. Most of the sisters who came with me opted for June except for a couple including my dear MTC comp, Hna. Graham. I told Sister Ward I’d have to talk to my family about it and let her know. This has been quite the battle in my mind for a while now ever since the idea of extending my mission crept into my brain about 3 months or so ago. I’ll tell you honestly that I did not want to extend – but I had this feeling like the opportunity might present itself. Lo and behold, such is the case. So I prayed. And I prayed. Nothing. I didn’t feel right about August. But I didn’t feel right about June either. I wished somebody would just tell me what I had to do. Decision-making is apparently not my forte. I had too many “Well, what if’s” in my head. “What if I’m supposed to be back in June for something/someone?” “What if I don’t stay until August? I might regret it forever.” But I think the thing that most weighed on my mind was something one of my MTC presidents told me during my “exit interview” from the MTC. He said, “If you serve faithfully, the Lord will bless you with a fine husband. But if you don’t fulfill your duty, you may end up marrying someone else.” I remember thinking that that was an interesting comment. I kind of interpreted it as, “Don’t go home at the wrong time or you could mess up who you end up marrying.” Basically, I just wanted to be sure that I was in the right place at the right time.
Whether or not 6 weeks will make the difference in my eternal salvation/exaltation or not, I can’t say. But I reasoned in my mind that the Lord would not possibly punish me for choosing to serve Him full time for just a little longer. So I started leaning more toward August. After talking to my family about it, I feel right about August. Sure, I might not have as much play time and summer fun with you all like I wanted, but I will have 6 more weeks of Panamanian material to tell you all about. Nothing’s “official” just yet, but if I get the okay from President Ward and everything else goes well, I’ll being seeing you in August! And really, after 18 months, what’s a few more weeks?
I just hope you aren’t upset by this. I don’t think you will be. Just hope Marissa and Scotti feel the same way!
So that’s my big news. And you have any big news for me, you just feel free to drop me a line.
In case you want to know what’s new with me here, I’ll tell you a few things:
- Christmas was AWESOME. We went around with one of the Elders dressed up as Santa and gave toys and food to needy families in our areas. My favorite was a little Venezuelan family with 3 little kids in our area. They are adorable and had absolutely nothing at all until we showed u. The parents were in shock and told us they couldn’t’ thank us enough. I’m never going to forget that. And I can’t wait to show you the pictures! This will be a new tradition for me, I think.
- We still haven’t baptized our family. We had our hearts broken by our Colombian fam, los Aguirre. But…I’m still positive that good things are coming. I only have 2 more weeks here in Marcosa with Hna. Bloomfield and the President’s sending me somewhere else because I’ve been here since September. I’ll be sad to go but new beginnings can be good, too.
- I’m rekindling the old flame that existed between soccer and me. Played today with the Elders and I am proud to admit I scored 6 goals. I also turfed it and got a nice scar on my elbow which will go well with the one I already had on my knee. I figure this way I won’t have to buy souvenirs.
- My new nickname as of late is “Senorita Hawaiian Tropics.” This name came from the nice man in the insane asylum in front of our apartment. (Not kidding.) I have also recently been called Chinese. Many believe I am Latina. My personal favorite is Jamaican. I’m sticking with that one.
So that’s basically the haps for now! AS always, this will be old news by the time you get this. Sorry. I’m thinking better write to Marissa and Scotti, too, but you are welcome to share any and all of this with them! Especially the “big” news. Please tell them I love them!
I love you dear!