Sorry about the late email, it's been a weird week here. I would never suggest having moves day be the Wednesday after Christmas, ha :) OK, let me pound out some simple answers to your questions, and respond to some of the things you talked about:
- Packages: I have received the pre-Christmas package, but nothing else...haha, just kidding it actually just got here, like two seconds ago.
- Skype and Such: So, we'll be Skyping from the office, which should be pretty simple because we'll be able to set it at a time that you'd like to have it. Obviously we need to have it in the evening (our time), but just shoot me a message on Facebook so we can set a specific time.
- Suit: We're waiting until after Christmas when prices go down and shopping becomes a bit less crazy. I'll send you a picture of what I decide to buy.
- Transitioning: Hmmm, that's interesting. My whole perspective on being a returned missionary is skewed because I live over here. I've only watched missionaries come home and have great opportunities to serve in the church and with the missionaries. They don't realize how privileged they are, ha :) I'll ponder it as I start gaining insight and council from my friends who have arrived home. I've started up a forum with a few friends who have gone home to Europe, and then one in New Zealand, Africa, Japan, and Chile as well. It's a different learning experience all across the world, it seems.
Ok, now let me tell you about what happened over here this week leading up to Christmas :) It's been incredible, the miracles just keep flowing!
- Exchange miracles: I have officially gained a testimony of referrals! Elder Barney and I, on exchange this week, asked time and time again if people knew anyone we could teach. We received 4 specific referrals that day, and our area's referrals and new investigators are exploding. When something is bolded in PMG, you should follow it.
- Parable of the pool of trees: We've been training a lot on Diligence in the mission recently, and we made up and employed an interesting parable to our training last week. There is a pool, with trees sitting in it, each about half way underwater. The top of each tree is on fire. All too often, our lives are like this: we run from tree to tree, spraying each one desperately with a fire hose. However, what we really need to realize that rising the level of the water would extinguish all of the trees. Raising our diligence is often a simple solution to many complex problems. There are always blessings in store for those who are willing to diligently follow God's commands.
- Knowing the Author: The London Temple President has repeated this story a few times in conferences that I've attended, so I thought I would finally record it so that God wouldn't have to keep inspiring him to say it. He spoke of a young woman who was an avid reader. One day, in a tucked away bookshop she found a lonely book sitting on a shelf and decided it was time for it's spine to be stretched again. She took it home and read it all night, pouring over the pages until she could come to only one conclusion: it was the worst book she had ever read. She put the book away and continued on with life. One evening she was invited on a blind date, and she subsequently fell in love with this man she had never met before. They talked for hours on end, and as their conversation turned to reading, she found that he was an author himself. The author of a little known book, in fact. As she went home to dig up an old book bought on a whim years ago, once more she began to turn the pages and read. Again, she finished the book and came to a conclusion, but much different than before: it was the best book she had ever read.
When we come to know the author of the ordinances we perform and gospel we follow, they take on completely different meaning. They become something important to us. We find that the author is wonderful, loving, and perfect, and so is His book. If you want to feel the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, come to know the Father by praying and speaking with Him.
- Miracle Skype Teach: So, we were stretched for time one evening, and didn't think we were going to make the goals that we had set that day. As we were sitting down, thinking of what else we could do to find someone to teach, we heard this noise coming from our corner in the mission office. We ran back to see what it was, and it turns out someone was Skype calling us :) We picked it up and ended up teaching a lesson then and there to someone who Elder Blair had friended on Facebook ages ago. We're meeting with him again tomorrow evening. The Lord provides.
- Mark's Baptism!!!! :) : The Zone had two baptisms!!! Two weeks in a row! I'm so happy and proud of them. It's incredible what the faith of a missionary can do. It's even more incredible what the faith of a family of missionaries can do.
- 12 Days of Christmas: This has been sooooo fun :) For the 12 days leading to Christmas, we've been doing specific and creative finding ideas/member visit ideas. They've turned out amazing! Remind me to send you a list of what they were, my favourite one was playing "bigger, better, best" where we had to use each object we received in someone's home for an object lesson in the next home.
- Roger: We had a wonderful teach with Roger on Saturday. It went so well, he committed to come to church next Sunday. We brought a recent convert named Rex to his home, and they related so well, they could have grown up in the same family :) The Lord always puts the right people in the right places.
- Christmas at the Kings: We're going over to a non-member's home for Christmas :) It's going to be great! It's also going to be vegetarian, which will make for an interesting dinner, ha. The Kings are a wonderful family that we got to know by doing service in their huge back garden. They actually have a son who converted and is now on a mission, so I don't think there's a better place for us to be than looking after this young missionary's family. I'm super excited!
- Temple: We got to go to the temple on Thursday. We finally sat down at that dinner instead of serving for it :) In the temple, I felt such love for all of the missionaries of our mission. I know that I want to work with the missionaries for the rest of my life.
Well, that's all I've got, and I've got to get going. I love you all. Happy Christmas!