Sunday, December 23, 2012

And a Merry Christmas to all

So here we are -- "el matrimonio McCoy" posing with our miniture Christmas tree in the church lobby.  Our branch Relief Society presidency had a great time decorating a corner of the foyer in our chapel.  There's not a lot of attention given to Christmas in Argentina, but we're enjoying this season nevertheless.  It's different being away from everything familiar, but thank goodness for electronic communication nowadays -- we've received much love and support from family and friends, for which we're very grateful.  Thank you.  We love you and hope your holiday season is filled with the true spirit of Christmas.

Speaking of the spirit of Christmas -- we'd like to introduce you to "Nicolas".  Outside of all the grocery stores here in Saenz Pena young boys hang around performing little acts of service in exchange for a few pesos.  They keep an eye on customers' bikes and motos so they don't get stolen, they help load groceries into cars, and they help carry groceries, including our groceries, home which is about a block away.  Nicolas always has a ready smile and as you can imagine, is all too street smart for his age (about 10).  We always tip him generously and he's always grateful.  Whenever he's not actually in school (at least he says he goes to school) he's at the store hustling -- half of which he says he gives to his mother, whom we've never seen.  So our "Christmas present" to him (in addition to generous tips) is hopefully a sense of his potential.  We call him "doctor Nicolas" every time we see him, and have told him that if he stays in school and applies himself, he can be a doctor some day and not have to pack groceries for other people the rest of his life.  So we've extracted a promise from him to stay in school and become a doctor.  So that's Nicolas -- our little neighborhood boy whom we've come to "adopt" in the hopes of giving him an identity and vision of his future that he likely never thought possible.

I have to wonder what will happen to Nicolas and many many other children like him around the world.  I'm sure the Lord loves Nicolas and his mother, whoever she is, and indeed all of his children, including us.  If we can feel such compassion for one little street urchin, how much more must the Lord feel for his children -- children for whom he gave up his life in a most agonizing way.  I am so thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I am thankful that he loves me inspite of myself and is so willing to communicate with me in times of stress and uncertainty.  I only hope I can measure up and become the "doctor" the Lord would have me become.

So that's my Christmas message this year.  May we appreciate the special privileges that are ours as disciples of Christ and rise to our full potential as children of the promise.  I love you.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year -- 2013.

XOS,  Dad/G-pa

 Christ - the reason for the season
 Hoping all is well with each of you at this special time of year
 Remembering family and friends at home and abroad
 Interesting new customs, experiences and friends
 Savoring each moment - it will never come again
 Thankful for "tender mercies"
 More selfless service to others
 Argentina - land of our first mission together
 Serving the Lord with heart, might, mind and strength
 Delight in serving the Lord
 Always remembering our many blessings
 Yours truly, Elder and Sister McCoy


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