One last email before Christmas day! I just checked the mission facts for this week and President Weaver has asked that we all call home between the hours of 2pm-5pm. I will be calling you from a member's cell phone at their home and still have to lock down a time. We get out of church at 2pm and have a baptism so it will probably be closer 3-5pm. The missionary handbook says to keep phone calls home 40min or less and President Weaver is sticking to that.
Lots to talk about this week!
Big thanks to the Meiling, Rhodes, and Kakadelas families! Thank you all so much for sending me letters and updates on your families. So fun to hear!
Ok, so Sister Welch got special permission to go down for a baptism of this guy she was teaching down in her last area. So we went down early Saturday morning to Lakewood aka LakeHOOD. Haha. The sister's area in Lakewood is called Steilacoom (still-ah-come) and is actually pretty nice. I was really surprised president let us go down. Usually its pretty common knowledge that missionaries are not allowed to attend convert baptisms once they are transfered out of the area. Anyway, so the guy that performed the baptism was this big Samoan guy. I knew who he was cause Sister Mills would talk about him and his family all the time. They were one of her favorite families and told me that if I ever get to serve in Lakewood to look up the Stowers family. Guess what? They know you guys!!! I was talking to Brother Stowers after the baptism and he said that he served part of his mission in the LA area. I told him that's where I was born and that a lot of my family still lives there. One thing led to another. Boom. Grandpa Ted or they knew him as Bishop Hino interviewed his wife Tati Toa for her baptism when she was 8. Brother Stowers was a convert to the church but he and his wife knows Grandpa Ted and all his daughters (you, Val, Allison). But what got me the most was how much they talked about Grandma Margaret. Sister Stowers spoke of her fondly and with reverence and even cried about her passing. It almost got me crying. She said they were so sad and felt so helpless when they found out and knew they couldn't come down to attend the funeral. She described Grandma in a way that fit her even up until the day she died. Loving, kind, sweet, gracious, and a believer of Christ. Goes to show she lived righteously her entire life. So cool. Small world, eh?
Lani, I met your friend Elder Bowser who is cousins with my comp, Sister Welch. He is a pretty cool kid!
Alright so the Christmas party was pretty sweet. I'll have to upload pictures to fully describe what it all looked like. So many missionaries! The gym was totally decked out. Row after row of decorated tables. Christmas trees and stacks and stacks of all our Christmas packages. (What the heck, you got Sis Homan something??!! Hahah she was like "Baylon! Look, your mom got me a gift!!) We started the day with a white elephant gift exchange. Basically a swap of a bunch of miscellaneous junk from missionary apartments. I ended up with a green sweatshirt on it with a golden retriever with reindeer antlers on strung with Christmas lights and the words "Christmas Kisses" under it. Haha I'll probably wear it Christmas morning. I originally wanted the Snoopy Snow cone maker that Holman brought, but in true white elephant fashion it got stolen from me right after I stole it from someone else.
At every place setting at our dinner tables there was a small pile of WA-TAC gifts. Santa Hats that had WA-TAC printed on them. Hobo gloves that had WA-TAC stitched on them. She hand sewn us all those bags full of corn that you heat up in the microwave or put in the frige. And one of my Bremerton zone leaders, Elder Alden's dad (who is the founder of Skull Candy Headphones) got us all custom socks. He got each missionary two pairs of these really cool striped Stance brand socks (they retail like $14/pair) that have Angel Moroni on them with 2011 under it and on the underneath part of the foot it says Washington Tacoma Mission. The WA-TAC is the most special mission!! So much unity and mission pride!!
After lunch (which surprisingly wasn't that good. I hate ham!!! it was prob good to everyone else but me and Holman who hate pig) we watched a bunch of performances. All of the international kids were asked to do something along with Elder Mauss who is the World's number one jump roper! He pioneered all these jump rope moves. Look him up on YouTube! Sister F performed a hula dance. Um.....worst idea ever. A girl up there shaking it in front of a 190 boys trying to keep their minds focused on the work. I talked to a bunch of elders that said it was so awkward for them. But she did a great job. It was just not the time nor the place.
One of my favorite parts of the party though was reading Moroni 10 as a mission and finishing the Book of Mormon for my second time. It felt like I accomplished something so great. I love the scriptures! President had selected a few missionaries to come up and bear their testimonies about their experiences and they all were very grateful and humbled by the experience.
Someone in our ward is doing the Twelve Days of Christmas for us!! It's so exciting coming home each night after a long day and finding a surprise on our door with a rhyming note. So far we have received: one loaf of homemade bread, 2 giant candy canes, 3 chocolate muffins, 4 rolls of toilet paper, 5 fudge brownies, and 6 bottles of Rootbeer. They all had little sayings on them. All of which I can now no longer remember. I wonder what we'll get tonight!!!???
Speaking of tonight, tonight we are going caroling as a zone. We are going to the other sisters' area that is in our zone. Hopefully we can have enough stamina to sing for 2 hours and that we find some people through it!!
Speaking of stamina. I have been craving to go running lately. But my comp doesn't really like running and it is pitch black and FREEZING outside in the morning. And it usually requires waking up a little earlier than usual. I really need to get in the habit of working out again. I need to build up my energy plus it's a great stress reliever. So if any of you know any good workouts especially cardio ones that I could do in our apt that would be great!! Hit me up.
Last week we started working off my ticket debt this week at the Bishop's storehouse. SO fun!!!! For two hours we bundled up 1 lb bags of grapes, wrapped heads of lettuce, and packaged 5 lbs of Idaho potatos. The workers are all these older volunteers from around the stake. They were all so nice! They all are friends that just work and snack together on treats that they all bring in. I tried egg nog for the first time when I worked there. Yuck. The first couple of second that its in your mouth it tastes like bubble gum. So we will be going back every wednesday in the mornings.
Haha ok so this week's funny story involves animals but stuffed ones and not living ones. So one night when we are tracting we meet this guy named Brian outside as he was rummaging around his van. He is like 4'10" and I swear he looks like his name should be Mauricio or something. Super thick mustache. Scurries and scuttles around and doesn't look at us while we talk to him. Has some kind of accent that fluctuates everytime we talk to him. He tells us to come back the next day. So we come back thinking that it was going to be a bust. Turns out his kids are way interested and were even begging him to let them come to church. So they are coming to church next week on Christmas! Here is where the animal part comes in. They had about a dozen or more stuffed animals and dolls and all kinds of other creepy things that were staple gunned to their ceiling. Um...ok? I took a picture of it and I need to upload it to send to you guys so you can get the full picture of what I saw. Haha. It looked like somethiing out of Toy Story with Sid the kid that tortures all those toys. The kids apparently are staplegun-happy and their parents aren't too concerned about stopping them for stapling everything they own to the walls or ceilings.
Well my time is running up. The lesson I learned this week is that "perfect love casteth out all fear." When you spend all your time judging or fearing someone you have no time to love or serve them. Think about that. Can't wait to talk to you guys on Sunday. Merry Christmas everyone!!!