Anyway, I wanted to tell you about a funny experience that we had this week. The toughest person that I know is 14 years old. Suzi has grown up in an environment filled with drug abuse, theft, a dysfunctional family, some family members in jail, and all the other usual trials of ghetto life. And she is a leukemia survivor. The thing that she says most often is, "ima pop you in the face." And she will. Every time we talk with her, we tell her to behave herself and not get in fights.
She says, "No promises." As one elder put it, "If I was in a tight spot around here, I wouldn't call the mission president; I would call Suzi."
So while we were in McDonald's on Thursday, using the WiFi to plan out our week, some annoying middle school punks sat down at the table next to ours. The kind who think they are cool because they are loud, tell dirty jokes, and their shorts reach their socks. We were getting fed up with them because they had been running around taking videos of themselves swearing for about an hour. Then, Suzi walked in with her little brother and sat down next to us. The punk kids stared at her and us in shock (she doesn't look like the kind of person who hangs out with Mormon missionaries). She looked at them defiantly and said, "Staring problem much?" They laughed nervously, then got up and left fast. We asked her if she knew them. She said she had already almost gotten in a fight with one of them once. Her little brother was wandering around the restaurant while we talked with her. He came back and said some girls had been calling him names. She said "Those girls over there? Ima talk to them." And before we could stop her, she was heading their way. We looked at each other like, "What do we do? Is it our responsibility to stop her because she is in our Ward and we are kind of adult figures here? Could we even stop her?" Luckily, by the time she got over there, one of the workers had already kicked the girls out. Suzi came back to talk with us for a few minutes. Other kids in the restaurant saw and started to leave. They walked past her, did the the " 'sup " head nod thing, and walked out. By the time she shook our hands and left, we were the only ones in the restaurant.
Literally every other customer had considered it in their best interest to leave before any problems could arise between them and Suzi. We felt like we owned that place. "Do you know Suzi? Well, we are pretty tight. That's right, I would leave too if I were you." Haha just kidding. But that's what it felt like.
Among our other adventures, we had a Christmas Ward Christmas party.
All the usual Hispanic-attempts-at-traditional-Caucasian-Christmas
foods were served: turkey, rolls, mashed potatoes, flan, jalapeños, and spaghetti. It is so funny that every time they think "Let's do American food", their first thoughts are turkey and spaghetti. Every time. There were also the usual technical difficulties with the sound system. Then Santa came and all the little kids took pictures with him. Someone thought they were funny and said "The missionaries should take pictures with him!" So we did. The entire Ward thought it was hilarious and took pictures. Then they had 3 piñatas. It was fun.
We has some really powerful lessons last week. One of my favorites was when our member who has only been in the church for about a year came with us to a lesson. She testified really powerfully about how the gospel has changed her life and given her strength in all of her trials. When we were talking with her afterward, she told us that she hadn't know that she had a testimony, but she believed those things and it made her happy to share them. It was amazing.
Merry Christmas!! In all of the commercialism and craziness, please try to remember Christ and do your best to bring His influence and teachings into your lives. That is one of the biggest reasons why we are all here.