Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Week 72 Christmas in Peru, December 26, 2016

Well this week was a slow one due to the Holiday. How ironic--I'm too busy with my Christmas preparations I can't listen to you two representatives of whom we celebrate this Holiday.... Wait, isn't that a little contradicting? When did Christ get taken out of Christmas??

Christmas in Peru:
All of the Peruvians set up a little nativity during December. Baby Jesus is missing until the 25th! On the Christmas Eve they start partying when the sun goes down (blast music, get drunk) and when the clock strikes 12 open all of their presents and eat paneton (bread with little fruit snacks in it) and hot chocolate.
Peruvian baby Jesus!
This week in El Nacimiento (the nativity play) I was Mary! It was my big break.... I was doing a decent job until a mom from the crowd walked up and plopped a REAL BABY right into the manger! No worries it didn't even wake up, the goats got along too.
A real goat!!!
It was so good to see my beautiful family! Although it was a little weird thinking about how soon I will actually see them!
Christmas Skype!!!
About 9 months ago I read a talk called Line upon Line by Cathy Chamberlain. In that talk, she shares a story that really resonated with me. After being diagnosed with a rare illness, Cathy met a doctor who taught her profound truths about healing-- physically and spiritually. "Picture spring in the Arizona Desert, imagine the glory in the colors as the desert breaks into bloom. As wonderful as this is, what is truly marvelous is how the desert tree will withstand the heat and drought of the Arizona summer sun and then the cold of the winter. Some of the oldest trees will not survive. This has nothing to do with the variety of the plant or even where it is located. The desert tree, when it puts its root down, soon hits a caliches layer, a hard soil layer cemented by calcium sometimes called hardpan. When this happens, the tree has two options. The first option is to spread its roots to the side looking for nourishment and water in the area surrounding it, in which case it dies. The second option is to put all of its energy into its taproot. The tree then focuses all of its energy to work and fight its way through the caliches layer. When it breaks through that layer and hits its source, nothing can knock it over. It has now made contact with a depth of nourishment that is not affected by conditions on the surface. It will withstand heavy winds, drought, freezing conditions, and even flooding. Because it is secure in its source of energy, it will bloom again in the spring.

"Just like the trees in the Arizona desert, we all seek nourishment. One form of nourishment we seek is validation, the feeling that our lives have value, that what we do matters. Research indicates that this is one of the main drivers of our behavior. We can seek validation, like the water in the story, from two sources: externally, where we spread ourselves in many different directions seeking things the world validates, or internally, where we quietly and steadily put out energy into doing the things the Lord has asked us to do. Here's the truth about external validation: You can't get enough! In the constant search for it, you will soon forget who you really are. You can't be cute enough, skinny enough, have enough clothes, a big enough house, or be loved and admired enough. It's like an artificial sweetener that increases your appetite but never satisfies.

"Compare that with searching and finding the well of living water--the source the Savior promised will never run dry, and despite conditions on the surface, will keep us from being knocked over. This well provides the nourishment that assures we will bloom again eternally."

This is so true! The adversary would have us believe that Christ is not the source by which we can find peace and happiness. In fact, he fills us with false beliefs. Sometimes we think "Well if I were skinnier then I would be happy" "If I had a boyfriend I would feel loved" "If I had more money I would be successful" " If I had a better church calling a would feel more important" "If I had more social media followers I would feel more needed". Well let me tell you the truth: These are all lies! Even if a fairy godmother waved her magic wand and granted every single one of those things and more, you still wouldn't feel happy, you still wouldn't feel satisfied.

This is something I've learned while on my mission. Conditional happiness isn't happiness at all! Ive found that as I've sought to be filled with the spirit I am truly happy. Even when I'm thousands of miles away from my family, eating food I don't like, showering in poopy water, feeling extra ugly, walking in the hot sun, getting rejected, I can be happy! And I am happy.

Con mucho amor,
hermana Ingram
Singing in the Plaza! and directing my rusty choir (:

The whole crew!
I was laughing so hard at the goat...
El nacimiento
Christmas dinner prepared by Susanna and July!

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