It was so much fun to see your beautiful faces this week! Event though we had some technical difficulties, it was all worth it and the highlight of my Christmas season. It is so fun to talk to you and to see you all on the couch, enjoying Christmas! I, of course, miss you and miss being around you for the holidays but that emotion is nothing compared to my excitement to be here and serving the Lord. I was thinking about it this morning. Elder Lonas calls this the Gospel Paradox: that in losing your life you find it. As we serve the Lord with all our heart and all our might and all our strength, we find 1) who we are 2) who we can become and 3) the greatest joy we can ever know. It is so wonderful. With the gospel in our life, everything is ok. There is no trial, test, or tribulation that is not worth our eternal reward. The simple, pure and restored knowledge of Jesus Christ as our Savior is the sweetest and most precious knowledge we can have. It fills the soul 100 times full and is the source of my constant smile! So Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Hurrah for Israel!
This week has been fun, we have done a lot of walking, and we got to spend an entire day with one of our priests, Sam. Our Young Men's President used to be in the Mission Presidency here, so he is very missionary-minded and wanted each of the priests to have the chance to spend a whole day with us missionaries! Sam got dropped off at our apartment at 8:00 am for personal study and went home at 9:30 pm after daily planning. He was so tired by the end, but he was so happy! (Like all days as a missionary) He said how much it meant to him and his excitement to serve. Funny because it ended up being a fairly "average" day for us, but I think I sometimes forget how wonderful it is to be out all day walking around with a name badge telling everyone exactly who I am and what I am here to do.
|Christmas Eve, Hot Chocolate and reading Luke 2|
Yesterday we got to speak on Anderson Island, the branch they have out there. We took the ferry in the morning and the branch president picked us up. They have church not in a chapel, but a sort of cabin with church things inside, like a mobile pulpit and soft folding chairs and even the card holders to tell what hymns we're singing. There were about 25-30 people there. A little bit smaller than the Westport branch (which does have a bulding). Our talks went well.
|Christmas morning reading Christmas cards|
Otherwise, we have not been able to get in touch with Chris since last Sunday, we hope things are ok. We saw Haopeng and Tiffany on Saturday night. They weren't going to be able to come to church, but we found out that Tiffany has been reading the Book of Mormon and she had a ton of great questions! (She's actually farther than Haopeng). She accepted the invitation to be baptized on Feb. 8th. It's farther out, but it feels more solid this time. We have a lesson set up Wednesday night at 7:30 at the home of our stake patriarch! He and his wife have been to China several times, are very familiar with the culture, and have been involved with many Chinese converts to the church. It might be the key!
|Birthday prep, balloons & head scratcher|
Have a wonderful week, finish up your binders for your Eagle Matthew!!
|Birthday, way too excited about Lego's!|