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For our Christmas Sunday Church, we acted out the nativity for Grandparents (via zoom). Conor wrote a beautiful script complete with music. My girls helped me think of costumes. We went through the Nativity Story and then took turns telling each other what the birth of Christ means to us personally. For me, it was a beautiful way to worship the Sunday before Christmas.

My girls were in our church's little nativity performance. Greta was Mary, Holly was the innkeeper, and Maeve was a lamb, whose sole job was to sit still and eat pretzels by the manger. Nailed it! I love that my girls were able to do this with their friends!

For Father's Day, we rode our bikes to church. And that rolled into a whole summer of riding bikes to church just about every Sunday. It's been quite the adventure with it's ups and downs. The first Sunday we made it to church without anyone yelling, crying, complaining, whining, etc felt like a huge accomplishment. Riding bikes to church has given our kids a fun identity. Plus it's just plain wholesome. It's not convenient. I change my shoes and put on a skirt when we get to church, it takes more time to get to church and home again. But overall it's been worth it. The weather is starting to change and maybe we only had a handful of Sundays left before we drive to church in a car. 

This morning, I stayed home from church (still nursing that flu) with Holly (who threw up twice yesterday). Greta convinced Conor to pull her on the tag-along bike and of course, Maeve rides in style on the handlebars. I loved this little image of 3 of my people. Conor's pretty dedicated!

Hopefully, you as a reader know that I am LDS. It has been truly inspiring to go to church here in Ecuador. I hope that I can fully express what kind of experience it has been for me. 

Last Sunday, we were mixed up on what time church started at and only attended the last hour. I was invited to a bridal shower on Wednesday evening at the church and a family invited us to their home for dinner and family home evening on Monday night. 

Today, we went to all three hours of church. It was a fast and testimony meeting and it was beautiful. It felt like pure religion. Many in the congregation were not wearing typical Sunday clothing - there were jeans, t-shirts and tank tops. While I couldn't fully understand the testimonies that were shared, I could pick out words and phrases here and there. The common threads were about Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon, the Plan of Salvation and Eternal families. The gospel is so precious here. One young man, who is the only member in his family, expressed his loneliness in the church to me. But, he told me that to him the gospel is beautiful. The young women wear their personal progress medallions and honor bee charms with pride. In comparison to my ward back home, these people have close to nothing. But they have the true gospel of Jesus Christ and that is enough. They have what matters. 

I observed one young man (about 14 years old) during sacrament meeting not only pass the sacrament, but literally feed it to a handicapped man. Is this not what Christ would do himself? It was one of the most beautiful acts I have witnessed. The young man was not embarrassed, or self aware. He was not hurried. I hope to never be the same because of my time here.

Maeve got to nursery for the first time today. It seems as though the age threshold is different here. On her way into the room, an old woman rushed up towards her poorly pronouncing her name, "Mav, Mav," she said. Earlier this week, Maeve's niñera, Ariel, had taken Maeve to visit this old woman. For the rest of church we were pressed for a commitment to visit again. "Cuando? Cuando?" Again, Maeve intoxicates. 

The gospel is so beautiful.

Greta has graduated from Nursery at church. She is officially a sunbeam and I think she's going to love it! Although she does miss her "girlfriends" who are a year younger than her and are therefore remaining in nursery. I couldn't resist snapping some photos Sunday morning before we went to church, even if it meant we were a little bit late. Greta is so special to me. She's a treasure.

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