Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy Christmas!

I've won a bookmark, a cookie cutter in the shape of a heart, two foil crowns, and jokes that barely surpass those on Laffy Taffies. We need crackers in the states, I think.

Christmas was well fun. There were loads of nonmembers at church, and then we headed to Tricia's for most of the day. Her family was over and we chatted with them whilst they helped themselves to the open bar. Tea was delicious--ham and roast potatoes and turkey (Brussel sprouts are gross) and gravy all over everything. Pudding was chocolate mousse and Christmas cake, which is a really soft fruit cake wrapped in marzipan and frosting. I couldn't face Christmas pudding. It's a fruitcake that's been soaked in rum or port for about two months (they started making these before Halloween) until it's all gelatinized and they bake it. Somehow I passed on that one.

The rest of the evening was spent doing karaoke, which I've never done. Christensen got all into it, and they wouldn't let me leave until I'd done one. So after all the Buddy Holly hits, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, and that one song from An American Tail, I got Christensen to sing Amish Paradise with me. They thought it was hysterical (we can't rap) mostly because everyone here mistakes us for Amish at some point or other. I was sad to leave when Debbie arrived at half six to shuttle us to Skype.

This week was awesome. Considering it's Christmas, we got 17 lessons in and we've got a goal for 23 this next week to make it forty. The Lord wants us to fulfill our goals. We couldn't manage a Christmas baptism (there were 23 of those in the whole mission, so it wasn't just us struggling with seasonal commitment) but at least we can get twenty lessons a week.

Our pool consists of:

-Vishal: From India, went to Catholic school, and think that the principles taught there have really hindered his ability to be happy like all the jerks he works with who are rich and mean and have everything going for them because if he tried to be nasty he would feel horrible inside (as we all do). We're teaching him the PofS today to help explain what true happiness is, even if you're trying your best and things aren't working out.

-Cindy: Still slow going. She totally believes everything we tell her and she's very susceptible to the spirit, but we think she's struggling with depression that's not getting treating, which would really explain her nervousness and such. We're trying to get her daughter interested, at least after the holidays are over.

-Tricia: Breakthrough this last week in making the gospel real to her. We're trying to get her to stop smoking, but it won't be easy. She quit once before and nearly got divorced because she was so grouchy.

-Trisha: Former member, offended by the bishop's lack of warmth to her, which is completely understandable. It's not exactly a huge ward. We're doing our best to build her faith and help her feel the Spirit when we're with her...she's got good member friends, which helps a lot.

Those are the big ones we're working with. It's really cool to see the Spirit work on them, even if you've given up hope that they're even paying attention, you find out they are. I'll be grateful to get back into the swing of things after the holidays are over and everyone's back to school and work and such. With Nana's money that she sent I bought some super cute dresses and a top on Boxing Day to expand my tired wardrobe. It's not nearly as tired as Christensen (her cardigans are just sagging because they've gotten all stretched out).

Things are going well on Jersey. We're doing our best to energize the members at the moment...I don't think they've ever met sisters like me and Christensen who sort of tell you like it is and are loud and talk smack during the ward pictionary game...I think they're a little shell-shocked. With any luck, I'll still be here for a few months more and someone like Sister Kutsevytch from Ukraine will join me and we'll really blow their minds.

It's something I've had to learn--not to expect anything from the members. You have to make nice with them and give them compliments and uplift them at every possible moment. That's the missionary's job. If they're not responding with referrals and such, try harder and pray to discover what the Lord would have you do. At Christmas we had like ten presents each under the tree...scarves and gloves and spa sets...I was shocked. You won't hear an article in the Christmas Ensign from ME that says, "It was Christmas on my mission, and no one had given us any presents" like they all say. Our Christmas was rad. Yvonne's friend was wanting to meet with us to learn more about the church at the end of it. We're so lucky to be here!

Happy Christmas, everyone! I'll have to make some good resolutions and let you know :)

Love from,
Sister Willard

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