What a week! It's been awesome. Christmas was great. In the excitement of it all, I forgot that it was Week 6. We had transfer call on Christmas Eve and I got called to train again! So unfortunately another one and done transfer. Serving with Elder Usua has been awesome and extremely humbling as well. So grateful for all the experiences we've had.
Tuesday was probably the most productive day we've had all transfer. After personal and companionship study, we do language study as well and then have lunch after that, so we don't leave the flat until after 12 each day. This leaves us feeling pretty sluggish some days and it's hard to start the day firing. But Tuesday was different. The first person we planned to visit answered the door and gave us a glass of water. From there, we just kept rolling. We also shared a #LightTheWorld card with a very healthy 94-year old lady. I'm pretty confident she'll hit the hunnid'.
We had a pretty good Christmas focused DTM on Wednesday. Elder Usua trained about the why behind Christmas, focusing on the New Testament side, and I trained on the Book of Mormon side of the Birth of Christ. And then we had a potluck of sorts afterwards. The Sisters came in clutch, bringing chicken schnitzel and some smash potatoes.
I'll share a few random thoughts before proceeding to the joy of Christmas. Number one, Australians love to shorten words. They'll do it anytime they can do so, and most of them are pretty cool. Unfortunately one of those words is Christmas, and some people had a good "Chrissy" this year. It was sad to me because here we are trying to share His Light, meanwhile others are taking away the very meaning behind the greatest time of the year. Secondly, a lot of churches here have notice boards out front and the messages they put up are usually quite amusing. However, one did stand out to me this week. It said: "take the joy of Christmas with you everyday". Imagine that. If everyone was this happy and family oriented all year round, we'd have a pretty dang good world. Soon. But for now, we'll have to settle for a month or so of joy.
On Christmas Eve, we went and did some service for a semi-active lady who is preparing to move soon. She has a lot of stuff and we'll probably be back there to help this week too. As we were moving some things around on her property, I thought back to the good ole days when we'd go to the water park on Christmas Eve and listen to UH playing in the Sheraton on the way home. I remember Jaren and I running up stairs having the time of our lives and talking about how awesome that Christmas would be. And in that moment of pushing a stack of boxes down a gravel pathway, I realized that I could experience that same joy, especially in the service of others. So, even though it was a bit hot, I really did, enjoy service that day.
That night, we had dinner with our Stake President's family (the Dunn's) and the Hutchinson's. It was fun to spend time with their families, listen to Christmas music, and share traditions. Also, if you cook it right, kangaroo is really good.
Sunday was sweet as. The Christmas Sacrament Meeting was pretty packed and it was cool to have the choir sing various carols. We spent the rest of the day at the Wilson's, where we had croissants, fruit, and yogurt for brunch and a Swedish style dinner, embracing Sister Wilson's culture. Brother Wilson is teaching us how to play the didgeridoo, which you can make on your own with a bit of pvc pipe. I am currently very confused trying to train myself to circular breathe. Haha. The Skype call was awesome, thank you for all the great questions and love. So good to see everyone after just emails every Monday. A family in the Ward also gave us a massive ham after church. So if anyone has good ham recipes, please let me know! The new comp and I will be living off of it this week.
Sorry this email is so massive. It's about to get longer. I'll finish with a Christmas poem President Checketts shared with us last week that I really enjoyed.
Twas the first night of Christmas a long time ago,
The hillside was peaceful, the moon was aglow.
The world couldn’t know from what happened before,
That men would remember this night evermore.
The sheep on the hillside—their days journey over,
We’re dreaming sweet dreams of a field full of clover.
The shepherds were watchful while guarding their flock,
The earth was their pillow, the stars were their clock.
Then all of a sudden, they jumped at the sight
Of the sky all ablaze with a heavenly light.
They huddled in fear, then they started to rise
As the lightening-like flash tore open the skies.
The heavens were split by the silvery ray.
The dark disappeared and the night became day.
And lo, at the end of the rainbow of light
Appeared then an angel to banish their fright.
The angel brought news of a birth in a manger
And bade them to hasten to welcome the stranger.
For Mary had just given birth to a boy
Whose coming would bring so much comfort and joy.
A choir of angels looked down from the sky
And heavenly voices were heard from on high:
Peace be on earth and good will to all men.
The Savior has come on this night, Amen.
The heavenly angels then faded from sight.
The sky once again turned from day to night.
The shepherds all quietly rose from the ground,
And hurried to go where the child would be found.
As they reached Bethlehem and the inn was in sight
From the barn came a trickle of half-hidden light.
It led like a path to a soft little bed
And shone very tenderly on a child’s head.
The child in the manger was sleeping so sound,
His eyes were still closed, as the shepherds stood round.
From that instant of grace on that night long ago
Thousands of years would be warmed by the glow.
Guided by light from a bright shining star
Came a pilgrimage led of three kings from afar.
They were dressed in the finest of satins and lace.
Their complexions were that of an Orient race.
The three wealthy kings were wise men and proud
But they went to the Christ child and solemnly bowed.
They came bearing treasures of incense and gold
To that sweet little child, still not very old.
The star in the sky twinkled down from above,
The world was awakened to kindness and love.
The past was forgotten, the future was bright,
And the spirit of Christmas was born on that night.
Hope you all had a great Christmas and will enjoy the upcoming New Year. Talk to you in 2017!
Love you heaps,
Cool dude. His last name was Cameron. Would make a sick tie, sherbet and blue plaid.
Our little Christmas corner in the flat
Taught him how to make spam musubi and he loved it. We made some again last night.
Thank you to Sister Perez for sending the supplies!
"O then, my beloved brethren, repent ye, and enter in at the strait gate, and continue in the way which is narrow, until ye shall obtain eternal life." (Jacob 6:11)
I believe this is a maple? They've been in all 3 of my areas and I love shooting them.
Nephi's brothers didn't recognize him when he returned with the brass plates.
Neither did these cows. Still love the fam though.
Christmas brekkie: Fruity Pebbles, glorious POG, and li-hing candies
Aloha ties with Damien (YSA returned missionary)
Central Coast Stadium, home of the Mariners (pro soccer team)
BYU gear for days. THANKS HEAPS!