It's cold, in the 20's and 30's. The temperature just seemed to drop out of nowhere and now the streets are bare and it smells like exhaust on every corner.
I'm NOT leaving Passaic. I'll stay for another transfer with E. Nielsen, which will be my 5th transfer here (in total about 7.5 months). That's a long time, but I wanted to stay so we can baptize Jasmin and her daughter Andrea. I'll tell you about them:
Jasmin just got here 2 weeks ago from D.F., Mexico. She is the daughter of Andrea Salas (recent convert) and we have been consistently teaching her since the week she arrived. She responds so well to the discussions, always has good questions and concerns but she's already ready to be baptized. She accepted the invitation in the first visit, but we confirmed it in the 2nd. She'll be baptized on December 8th with her daughter, Andrea, who is 9 years old. Before we even met her, she had read 530 pages of the Book of Mormon (there are around 650 pages in the Spanish Book of Mormon). She felt the spirit as she read and she knew it was true, THANKS to Hermana Guadalupe Garcia (Jasmin's aunt) who is a strong member and a dear friend of mine, who constantly spoke to her about the church and about how it was the most wonderful thing in her life. In a few years, I won't be surprised if the entire extended Garcia family is baptized. They are humble, Mexican people with an unbelievable ability to feel the spirit and recognize the need for spiritual growth.
We had the branch Thanksgiving Dinner on Saturday night. We had a few investigators there, as well as less-actives, and TONS of active members. We make jokes around here that the head-count at activities is DOUBLE than that of normal sacrament meeting attendance: Hispanics love their parties.
It was great fun though. Hermano Lazaro (looks like a Mexican bear) hired a mariachi band and I was in heaven. They played multiple old classic Rancheras (typical Mexican music). The band consisted of a singer that played the guitar, a bass player (HUGE, 6 string acoustic bass... I need to get one), and two trumpet players. IT was the raddest thing ever. DAD and CHRIS - remember how we used to always change the radio station to the Hispanic music station? Well... I am now in love with all that type of music. Make fun of me, if you dare. Anyway, the band played a song called "El Rey" that Elder Dahl and I learned to sing (I don't even remember how) and as the band was playing it, I was sitting in my chair singing LOUDLY with the band and bobbing my head, acting like a depressed Mexican drunk and all the members were howling with laughter. It was pretty great. All those songs are always from the eyes of some depressed guy singing about how his girlfriend just left him. Unrequited love. Where would we be in music without it?
The Acosta family came to church yesterday again and Jose had his LONG hair in a bun, trimmed up his beard, and was wearing slacks and dress shoes. He's such a cool guy. We found out the other day that he's a fist fighter, a pretty big, scary one too.
Life is sweet in Passaic. I will stay here for Thanksgiving, the temple trip to Manhattan, Christmas, and New Years. It's going to be marvelous.
I love every last one of you and I miss you. The gospel is true.
ps - Bayley - you're on a mission and I couldn't be prouder. Love you tons.