With regard to the Christmas call, I know zip, save that it will probably be done from a ward member´s house. I will keep you posted. As for the Christmas cards, (we sent him some cut out nativity cards that we thought could be a conversation starter) they have sat in the house because we have been focusing on the Church´s A Savior is Born initiative, and because I keep forgetting to bring them out with me. The mission as a whole has a goal of having 2000 distinct investigators attend church at least once this December, and we have yet to have even one (with the exception of the P**** family we baptized last Saturday).
What can I say? Life in the DR is pretty good right now. We´ve been hitting the gym (almost) every morning, been making batidas from spaghetti (yeah; spaghetti cooked, then blended with sweetened condensed milk, sugar, banana, vanilla, and cinnamon) every other morning, and everything temporally has been quite alright. The last few weeks, although a lot has happened and I am grateful that I see the Lord´s hand so much in my life, have been a little bit discouraging when looking at the numbers. We have had days where we´ve only had two or three lessons, because in the mornings we´ve had to go somewhere or help another companionship or go to the mission office or go get my green card (that was hectic) or lo que sea, and in the afternoons half of our investigators are NEVER home, and the other half are a little frío. Not cold in that they don´t like us; cold in that they don´t keep commitments. We are within the first lesson still with almost all of our investigators, because they never read. We haven´t even been assigning scripture to some, just a paragraph or two from a pamphlet, butthey somehow forget.
However, despite how bad that sounds, I really don´t feel discouraged day-to-day. We have to walk a lot between appointments anyway, so the extra walking when one falls through feels like nothing new. We have big plans for the coming weeks, though. We met with the ward council, as well as the Bishop individually, to help the ward leaders recognize that missionary work is their charge, and that as missionaries we´re just here to visit people who they can´t always be visiting, and to be a 2nd and 3rd witness of the truth that they´re sharing with friends and family. We have plans to go out with members every day, with at least 5 different members every week. We have names and times set. We have plans to visit 3 members a week, one from each organization (Young Women, Elders and Relief Society one week, Young Men, High Priests, and Primary the next, rotating as the month progresses), teach them simply the first lesson, practice teaching with them, ask them for a reference, and invite them to set a time when they can accompany us to visit that reference. The ward is even going to have a missionary night, where the members are going to go out in groups contacting friends and family, marking addresses, sharing Christmas messages, and turning the info over to us, this, which should be amazing. I posted the ward goals, the zone goals, companionship goals, and investigator goals on the wall above our table, so we keep them in mind when planning. I am really excited to see how many lives we can touch this week, members and nonmembers alike.
I don´t know that there´s much else new out here. The day-to-day is interesting and funny, but mostly in the moment. Elder M***** and I are really getting along. We´re a lot alike, in tastes in music, what we were studying in college, our sense of humor, etc. The only thing we´re super different with is tastes in food. He likes salty stuff more than sweet, and whenever I make pancakes he is flabbergasted by how much syrup I add (and I don´t pour on all that much, by our family´s standards *cough* Elijah *cough*). When he tried that candy cane bark, he couldn't eat it. He took one bite and said "oooh wow, ¡dulcísimo!" Funny story real quick, and then I´m done., after the zone meeting, i was going to transpose I Know That My Redeemer Lives down a key so Hermana P**** (Brasilian professional singer who left her career to serve a mission, BTW) could play guitar along with for a special musical number for the Noche Blanca. I would need about an hour to write down the transposition, and then we would practice all together (all the zone would sing). We needed to leave at 8 to get there on time, so after going to the gym Elder Martinez and I were laying on our beds with fans cooling off and doing stretches for a few minutes when we get a call from the mission office at , saying we´d needed to be at the office at 7. WHAAAT!?! We scrambled over there late to find out that I was getting sent over to immigration to get my green card (apparently they do it in the MTC here, but I didn´t go here, so I needed it). That took up the whole day. Lots of sitting. That was , and the Noche Blanca was . (can´t believe this slipped my mind until now) we got to go to the temple with three other zones, and actually got to have a meeting in the only Solemn Assembly room in Latinoamerica besides the one in Mexico City, DF, Mexico. Also, that was my first time through the temple here, and because it was dedicated only a year before the Columbia River temple, it has some similarities in color and design inside. Suffice it to say, that took all day, and I spent an hour (from ) that night in our chapel plunking out a transposition on a cheapy electric keyboard so we could practice the hour before the Noche Blanca. It all worked out, but it was a little crazy. Also my zone is awesome. They´re all light and funny when it´s appropriate, and *most* know when to be serious. Also also we got to go to Sambil (a mall chain--look it up) for P-Day, and I got to have my first (and second, and third) dulce de leche-filled Krispy Kreme (WOW).
I hope everything continues to be well back home, and I´ll keep ya posted on the Christmas call thing.