Dear Jess and the rest of my cousins from down south,
I've come to develop a strong disbelief in coincidence. I mention this because you and the fam were on my mind this week as well and I felt a strong desire to email y'all! :D I also apologize for not being in touch, like, almost at all. Haha.
The church in my area where I'm at right now is also rather small. We're in a ward right now, and the members on record are like 300+, but only like 30+ attend. You might wonder how that works, but I believe it's because there are the bare minimum for full-tithe payers. There's a false tradition here (very similar to members in other places) of what being active is. The church in Merida goes back a ways and the majority of YSA's and there parents have served missions. Most also have family members who were pioneers here in the peninsula. Our biggest challenge right now is helping them understand just what missionary work is. (I'm sure this is a church wide problem that you know well by now.) However, seeing that my own family gets this really gets me going! Haha.
What a wonderful experience for Maya! (And the hair on that youth. Ah, the glory days...) If it weren't for the fact that I'm forced to go straight to the YSA branch upon my return, I'd be with our small Spanish group weekly! I love those members so much. However, I will make sure that the Spanish missionaries still have my number. Heh heh...
I hope you see the blessings within your family that have come since Aric was called as ward mission leader. It's not easy whatsoever. Over here, the calling for ward mission leader (at least in my previous area) was like the teaching position for Defense Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts: no one lasted; as if it were cursed or something... But I hope your family understands so much more of our Father's plan for us! He can do his own work, but he's given us the privilege to be a part of "(bringing) to pass the immortality and eternal life of man". I love you all so much and know that this work is true! Never doubt it for a second! (Seriously. I have too much less actives to deal with at the moment. Haha.)
Love, Elder Manuel Antonio Santos