Thursday, December 29, 2016

We Skyped with Skibby on Christmas Day.  We had a few technical difficulties initially (she could see and hear us on her computer, but we couldn't see or hear her on ours), but eventually we got things resolved and were able to visit with her.  She is happy and doing great!  She sent us the following email the next day--Monday, December 26, 2016.  She included lots of Spanish words I didn't know.  I tried to look up translations and/or explanations for them, and I have included them below in italics and brackets.  That child forgets that my Spanish language skills are muy, muy pequena [very, very small]!

Date:  December 26, 2016 at 8:49 AM
Subject:  Twas the day after Christmas

emergency for the grammatics:
Is majority a singular or plural word???
The majority of the people ____

We were in English class and Paco, the English teacher who is from Spain, and I couldn't decide. So this is an emergency.

Well, I realized you guys don't really know that much about my companion. She is from Lima, Peru, and is 25. She has a fairly big family and all of them are less actives. So I'm blessed to be with her for Spanish, as an example of strength, and as a good friend.

Christmas was really good!

Here and in South American countries they eat Paneton [also spelled “panettone,” I think; it’s a type of sweet bread containing candied fruits and raisins] for Christmas. A ton of paneton. Also here in Spain they eat a lot of turron, [turron is a candy made from almonds, egg whites, and honey] and chocolate with churros.

Friday night we had a Christmas dinner with the ward. It was good. We had a little skit as Missionaries.

So for Christmas Eve we had brunch with one of the members in the church. I made eggie pancakes. Then in the afternoon we tried to go caroling, but nobody wanted to hear us. So we caroled for one of the ward members, then went to the house of Juan, one of the Elder's friends. Their whole family is from Peru and their brother is a chef, so Hna Quispe was in paradise.  We ate with them about a week ago and had Seviche.(?) [It is probably spelled, “ceviche,” and the internet says it is a seafood dish popular in Peru and other parts of Latin America.  It is made from fresh raw fish, citrus juices, and aji or chili peppers.]  Grammy and Bompa, have you had Seviche? Because when I tell you it is hot, I am NOT lying. Also we ate King Kong [I think this may be a type of Peruvian confectionary or cookie…but I’m very not sure]. But for Christmas Eve we ate arroz con pollo [rice with chicken] y paneton. It was really good, and I was grateful that they let us spend some time in their home. We also watched a little bit of "Peru, Nebraska." They think it's hilarious. You all have the right to watch it. You can find it on Youtube [I looked it up and watched it~pretty funny!].

Then my companion and I reenacted the Christmas pageant and sang villancicos [Christmas carols].  Look up the songs, “Burrito Sabanero” [“My Little Donkey”] and “Campanas de Belen” [“Bells of Bethlehem”]. Good songs.

Christmas, like I said, we got up and walked with Fernando a little bit. I hope we can eventually teach him in his house with his family. That's the first time we've walked with him, so hopefully if we keep it up, we can progress. I made eggs benedict. Luz came to church, but she always leaves right after so we never have time to talk to her. Especially because I have to play the postlude. I honestly wish I didn't have to play the piano. They had a pianist, but they make me play anyway.

Then we went to Hna Brechet's house and ate rabbit ;( turkey, potatoes and cake. Later we stopped by a less active’s house and read the Christmas story with her. And then the fiasco with all you people [i.e., the technical issues we had trying to Skype].

Thanks for the package mom! It was amazing. We’ve been making lots of paper things. Everything inside is money. Thank you for being honest and not sending food! The only things they don't have here are Reeses and Skittles, and we can buy those at the English store in Sol.

Love and miss you all! See you next year!!!

Skyping with Skibby on Christmas Day

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Skibby sent the following email on Monday, December 19, 2016:

Date:  December 19, 2016 at 8:24 AM
Subject:  Feliz Dias Antes de La Navidad

Amada Familia.

Hope everyone is happy and well!!

This week we had a Zone Conference in Pavones. Man, I know that Presidente Pack is a man of God and truly inspired. It was especially designed to help me. It was all based on faith and how we can increase and maintain the faith. We talk and talk and talk about faith here. But faith is so personal and has to be kept and built upon each day to survive. It can be very, very strong, but also it is fragile.

Right after the zone conference we contacted Yihad in the metro station. We sat down next to him and just started talking. He was really nice. We ended up talking to him for a long time. He is from Morocco and so is Muslim. But he was really friendly and helpful. We were headed in the same direction, but eventually we had to depart. He asked if we could write down his number or something and talk with him in another time. THAT is a miracle because he asked us to write his number down, and he is Muslim. I know that God works according to our faith. Miracles only cease because of the unbelief of men (see Mormon 9).
It is up to us to keep the faith and let God work through us.

We sang again at Sol.

We are still doing ilumina el mundo and I hope all of you are doing it too.

I'll talk to you all next week, so I feel like there's not much else I can say here.

We all bought the Elders in our district presents. I got a plastic dinosaur, a candle, and candy from the usa. I'm going to pick up your package this afternoon.

Love you all.
Have a very merry Christmas eve!!

hna christensen

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Skibby sent us the following email on Monday, December 12, 2016:

Date:  December 12, 2016 at 9:59 AM
Subject:  Short and Sweet

Hola Familia!!

This week has been short since I wrote last Wednesday.

So this letter will be short and sweet also.


Much of what has happened the rest of this week is failed appointments and traveling. We had to travel to Sol twice this week to sing. I don't think you know, but last Tuesday and Thursday were holidays here. THERE WAS A TON OF PEOPLE IN SOL. I thought I was going to lose my companion. We almost held hands to keep track of each other, but decided it was a little weird.

We sang 9 songs. I wish I could hear it from a native’s point of view because I'm sure our accents were horrendous, and maybe that's why there was a sufficient crowd...!!  But it went well! My favorite part of singing was watching the faces of the people and seeing them content to stop and listen in the hubbub and bustle of the night. My other favorite part: Hna Bates (the director) sang the first part of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” before we all joined in, and she turned to the crowd and started singing really loudly. One of the ladies in the crowd thought she was singing at her or something, and joined in really loudly and excitedly until she realized she wasn't supposed to be singing. Adorable. I'm sure this doesn't sound funny at all, but it was hilarious.

Maybe I haven't told you about Rosa, but I really love her. She is from Puerto Rico. The last 2 times we visited her we happened to have food. She carefully takes the food we give her and puts it in her kitchen. She loves it when we give her food. I firmly believe Rosa really understands our purpose and understands the role of the Book of Mormon. This is really really good for her, and really good for me. We read in 3 Nephi 11 with her, and she loves the words they say. We talked about receiving an answer to her prayers, and my companion and I were able to testify about our own experiences, which was really sweet. Rosa said she feels really tranquil (here's the thing: they say siento tranquilidad con ustedes. And I don't really know the exact translation because tranquil just sounds weird. But it probably works the best since it is the same word. All words in Spanish are the same as they are in English) when she's with us. I just hope she will be able to recognize that it is THE HOLY GHOST!!

Well, that's about all for now. I love and miss you all. I forgot (again) today to buy an advent calendar, but I hope you are all eating yours faithfully. Don't fear, I am eating chocolate practically on a daily basis; it just isn't from the advent calendar.

I am hoping to skype Dec. 25 at 8:00 pm my time. Would that work for you guys? It should be about what -- 1:00 or 12:00 pm there in the USA??