Merry Christmas!

I LOVE Christmas… and it only gets better on a mission!

Thank you for sending pictures of snow! and the christmas tree. Now that I’ve seen snow it actually feels like it could be Christmas. The house is super festive. You’re right, Dad, my Christmas in California is probably completely different than the first Christmas on your mission in Nova Scotia.

As for when I call on Christmas, it will be sometime between 11:00 PM and 3:00 PM. I honestly do not know when it will be. We aren’t too busy during the day. I think we are just meeting as a zone, opening packages, and watching a church-related movie (I think Ephraim’s Rescue). Just be available between 11 and 3. I wish I had enough information to be more specific, but I really don’t. And to clarify, we aren’t skyping or anything like that… just the regular phone call.

I haven’t received your package yet, Mom. It may have come on Friday or Saturday or even today. I’ll just make sure our zone leaders pick it up when they go to the mission office tomorrow.

Dad: I forgot to tell you last week, because I ran out of time, but it is really good to hear that they are finally recognizing what you do at work. Congratulations on the community reception. It shows that when you are bold and honest with a community they grow to respect you and take ownership of a plan when they trust it. That’s how the entire plan will bear fruit. I’ve always been fascinated with economics and have been surprised on how foreign a concept economics is to a lot of people.

Dave and Kimball: Thanks for the advice on using members. Strangely enough, we just had a training in district meeting about doing those exact two things, and the week before, we decided as a companionship to prepare lessons instead of spiritual thoughts for members. We are having two zone conferences in January and February where all of the members are invited as well, which should be awesome. We are also asking the members who come to lessons with us to share their experiences with the ward at church on Sunday, which seems to work really well to inject a strong spirit of missionary work into our already strong ward. I’m excited to talk to you on Wednesday! I can’t believe Hyrum is already 18 months old! He is going to be such a ladies man! Fique Firme.

Lacey and Michael: Those are pretty extravagant gingerbread houses! I’m definitely impressed by Adelaide’s ;). Have fun with your first Christmas at home! I love the Christmas season where everyone around us is sensitive to the spirit of Christ. Sometimes it seems like miracles happen more often around Christmas, and as our mission president pointed out earlier this week, they do. When there is more faith in the world, God is able to perform miracles through more people. When more people are sensitive to the spirit and focused on giving, they can become instruments in God’s hands to bring happiness to those around them. The guy who switched shifts with you is a simple example of that. I love you! Merry Christmas!!!

This week was kind of strange. Last week I told you I was with Elder Rasmussen. Well, surprise, I’m with Elder Garcia and Elder Miller again. I got switched back to my normal companionship because a missionary in our zone was going to be going home early… but I saw him at the Christmas conference and he said he will be coming back (hooray for repentance!), so I have no idea what is going to happen. For all I know, I make be packing my bags for the third time in two weeks. Elder Rasmussen and I were together for three days.

We FINALLY got in contact with a less active part member family this past week. The father is a member, but works more than 80 hours a week, including on Sunday. He wants to come to church but he is afraid his crazy boss will fire him if he tries taking Sundays off. His wife and children are not members. However, when Elder Miller and Garcia met with them last week (while I was gone), they said they wanted to learn about their husband’s church because they were no longer happy with theirs, even though the daughter had just finished a year of study to officially become a member of her church. The daughter said she felt like her questions couldn’t be answered and that a lot of things her church told her just didn’t make sense. We began teaching the family mother, daughter, and son, and they are stinking awesome! They came to church on Sunday without their husband/Dad and loved it! The member who came to the lesson with us told us that it was the best lesson she had been to since she was baptized over 30 years ago. The daughter has tons of good questions, and knows considerably more about religion than the average 11 year old girl. It was definitely a miracle for us after such a weird and confusing week.

I love everyone! I’ll talk to you on Christmas!

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Here is our mission picture. This is 1/3 of our mission. The other 2/3 had their own Christmas Conferences and had their picture taken seperately. If you can’t find me, I’m in the front row.

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