Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Mom's Note: I got a little behind posting letters to the blog. The highlight of our Christmas was definitely being able to Skype with Dylan for 45 minutes and 30 seconds on Christmas Day. Here are Dylan's last 3 letters and lots of photos:

DECEMBER 16, 2013
The Christmas season has been flying by. I'm sure the Christmas party went awesome and I wish I could have heard the songs. I wish I could hear all the concerts too! I've been missing band the more and more I listen to all the awesome Christmas music. Maybe I'll look back into it when I get back. We'll see how well I can pick the clarinet back up.

I'll definitely read your talk during study time tomorrow. Really the idea that we are truly sons and daughters of God is something that they've wanted us as missionaries to teach better. Every one of us has infinite potential and is more loved than we can imagine.

Thanks so much for all the boxes and CDs and everything! I love all the Christmas music!!! We've been blasting out to Piano Guys and Josh Groban every morning, lunch, and dinner, plus whenever the other Elders give us a ride in their car. In fact, all this Christmas music has made me miss my ocarina. It'd be awesome if I could add that to my Christmas list. :) I've got enough treats now I don't think I have to go shopping till January. It's awesome though. I think the cold spell has left for now. We'll be having a nice warm Christmas. Poor Rees is stuck with -40 degree weather in Canada, plus I can't imagine how cold it is in Russia right now. It's good I like the warm weather, though.

So for Christmas we just need to ask a member that has Skype to let us come over and use the computers. We'll figure it out this week and then let you know the username and everything. Make sure you send me your username too, just in case. Well I guess when Christmas comes around I can actually call if we need help figuring out the computers. Craziness!

Don't worry, headaches have been a lot fewer and farther between since the mission started. As missionaries we even fast at least a couple times a month, whenever we need extra miracles with certain people. And it always pays off.

We had a huge missionary conference with Elder Callister from the Presidency of the 70 on Friday. He talked a lot about the Atonement. It's important that everyone understands well how powerful the Atonement is and what it means personally for their lives. It covers everything that could ever be wrong in the world or in life. Christ provided the means for us all to be saved from death. To overcome and make our weaknesses into strengths. To make fair every trial or disappointment  we pass through. And to make us clean so that we can return to live with our Heavenly Father and one day become like Him. He also talked a lot about becoming a consecrated missionary, which he gave a talk on; our Ward Mission leader gave us not long ago. The biggest thing from that I learned was that in order to give everything to the Lord, we also have to sacrifice our fears. Only then can our faith grow, by trusting completely in the Lord.

I love you all so much!!! Have a Feliz Navidad!

~Elder Dylan Young

DECEMBER 23, 2013
Merry almost-Christmas! You really just barely got snow? That's crazy. We're definitely not expecting snow any time soon. But we got the box and the stockings and everything. We're trying really hard not to open anything until Christmas. We'll see how that goes.

Well even with Christmas coming along the missionary work keeps moving forward. I love seeing all of the Christmas lights on the houses. I saw one house that had a ton of cardboard cutouts of the characters from the old Rudolph movie, even Yukon Cornelius and the Abominable Snowman. Then there is another house that has Santa riding in a tractor and there's a big glowing Texas that says "Ho Ho Y'all." It's awesome.

For Christmas down here, everyone loves to make tamales. I'm not sure why. But, the onslaught of tamales has already begun. I'm excited since I love tamales.

I love you all so much! Thanks for everything you all do for me all the time, for your prayers and for your love. Have a Merry Christmas!!!!

DECEMBER 30, 2013
Hola familia!!!

Yep, I've definitely gained a few pounds, but I'm not sure how many since we don't have a scale. I haven't weighed myself since the MTC, where I gained 7 pounds.

The rest of Christmas was pretty awesome. I'm not sick of tamales yet, and I'll never be sick of tamales, although we didn't actually get taught how to make them like it was planned. The family that invited us over for Christmas did have a ham as well, so that was more Christmasy. The week was a little slow missionary-wise for us. Everyone we are teaching went out of town, and almost nobody was outside for us to talk to, plus we were super busy just with the members and all the meetings and things we had. But it's okay, since we're going to start the new year off right.

We got transfer calls Sunday morning, and the verdict is: I'm staying! Elder Flores and I have 6 more weeks together here in Weslaco. It's weird since all the missionaries who were here when I started will be gone tomorrow. This will be my fifth transfer here, and the next oldest missionaries will only be on their third. I was feeling before that a fresh start in a new place would be a great way to start the new year, and that it would have given me more fire as well, but obviously I still have work to do here and things to learn here in Weslaco.

It's good Cassidy's wisdom teeth extraction went well. Did she say any crazy things? We should have recorded me after my operation.

Crazy story for the week: We invited a man to church a few weeks ago. The first Sunday he came but he was super drunk. The next Sunday he had a seizure on the couch before church started and the paramedics had to take him home. Definitely a Sunday to remember! He's doing okay though.

That talk sounds awesome. The newest talk that Edgar printed for us is "His Grace is Sufficient" by Brad Wilcox. It's probably one of my favorite talks. It's all about the amazing power of the Atonement, how Christ has already paid the price for us in full. He asks us to do our best not to qualify for His Grace, but to be changed by it and become holier, more like Him.

I love you all so much and I'm so grateful for everything you've done and keep doing for me. I know I already failed my letter every week resolution, but today half the missionaries in the district are at the doctor's so I should have time.

Mucho amor!!!
~Elder Young

Our District has Christmas Spirit!

With our ward mission leader

Texas Christmas Stockings

Our mini Christmas tree

Our mini Christmas tree buried in piles of gifts from home

Stockings from our ward mission leader

Opening presents (marshmallow blow guns & lots of mini marshmallows)

Christmas tamales!

Elder Flores picked up a hitchhiker