Highlights from Shauna's first Christmas away from home....
Shauna and Laura Caballero getting ready for church just a few days after Christmas! Notice Laura's CTR ring--Shauna handed out CTR rings to some of the children for Christmas. Laura "Loves it!" Shauna is wearing her new blouse and necklace she received from home!
Classic 'fruit nativity' and Shauna.
"One thing that people do here for Christmas that I love is that they set fruit out by their nativity...representing a gift to Christ. The days leading up to Christmas they´ll go to the store and each day buy the best piece of fruit they can find and when they return to home, set it by their nativity. Then, using that fruit they make a fruit salad for their Christmas dessert. Peoples fruit salads here are fruit in really small pieces with juice served in a glass. I just think its such a cool thing that EVERYONE here does! I'm def going to make it a tradition with my future family someday! But...i really like pie for dessert so ensalada de fruta will be part of Christmas breakfast! Haha, yes, i´ve already planned it all out! " :)
Shauna and Sister Castaneda enjoying Christmas Eve dinner! She says, "the Caballero family was nice enough to cook for us! Carne, Chicken and Potato!"
Sister Casteneda, Shauna, Papa Noel and Cesar. Cesar has been a member for almost a year. They visit him about once a week. "Great guy!" Don't you just love President Monson in the background...the church really is the same everywhere.
"Can I just say how AWESOME it was talking on Friday?!! It was so so good to hear everyones voice! The time passed by way too fast...and it was hard for me to say a final ciao and push the off button. But after the call I was like on cloud 9! So happy and felt reenergized to go! You don´t know how much it means to me to have such love and encouragement from every member of the fam. I have found that that really is a unique thing. H. Castaneda talked to her mom, sister and brother at 7 for about 40 mins. At 8pm her dad was supposed to call to talk for just like 5-10 mins (her parents are seperated) and he never did! She hasn´t talked to him for over 9 months. She didn´t seem to mind that he didn´t call, but I felt so bad for her! But really, you guys are the BEST! Ah, love you all!!"
"Oh..I thought it was interesting what you and dad both said onthe tape...it really is true that parents can receive revelation and such about their kids...because some things that you and dad talked about I really needed to hear! So, thanks!!"
"Oh--this is random but I forgot to tell you along with my oatmeal christmas breakfast I had sweedish fish. (thought of you Jac!)"
"THANK YOU for all your christmas cards, letters and messages on the tape that mom sent (I listened to it again christmas night and got it playing right so the voices weren´t skewed!!). I soaked up every word. And, in your letters and cards you all helped me focus on why we celebrate christmas...Christ. I know He lives. He loves us. and its only through Him that we can live with Him, our Father in Heaven and our family forever! And that really is the greatest gift!"
In a "snail mail letter" that Shauna also wrote on December 28, 1009 she says...
"You asked about homes here...definitely varies in our ward. There is one home that is pretty nice and like American, but then there are a lot in the middle-lower class category. Then I've been in homes that are like nothing. Dirt floors, one room, no kitchen, fire outside is their kitchen."
"We really work a lot with families here in the ward-especially new member families-to help strengthen them and keep active in the church. So many people don't stay active and it really is sac. The church has such potential here! I think of Brother Jarman (from Shauna's home ward)
here years ago, and how his investigators are probably leaders now and how he planted seeds that I could very well be helping out with now! Crazy to think of! It's amazing how the church continues to grow! Worldwide too! To think that there are missionaries just like me-doing what I'm doing everyday in all parts of the world boggles my mind. It's so cool! Our church is awesome! And TRUE! What a blessing it is to have such knowledge in our lives! We really are so blessed!!"
Baptism of Fabian Castallerri
Shauna, Bishop Romero, Fabian, H. Castaneda