-We spent half of our Preparation day at the Branch Christmas party where we played fun games and ate yummy food.
-We joined the Young Women in the evening for some Christmas Caroling
-We worked and served and taught like missionaries do. Since it's vacation time and they don't have school, we got some of the youth to work with us as we shared Christmas messages to anyone who would listen.
-There are families here that helped us feel so included in their Christmas celebrations
-Christmas here is not so much about the gift exchange, rather it is about food and the companionship of others.
-We had District meeting in the morning with four other Elders. Afterwards we had a gift exchange and Christmas lunch.
-I got to skype my family!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I cried in excitement as we were getting ready. We had carefully arranged it so that me and Solana (my Sister who is serving her mission in Albania) could all be on at the same time. That meant my family had to wake up in the middle of the night. But to the disappointment of all us, I ran into some trouble finding a place where I could skype. By the time I was finally able to get on I had just barley missed Solana!! It was the saddest thing ever!!! I cried about it later, but not wanting to waste any of the precious time I had with my family, we pressed on. It was the greatest thing ever to talk to my beloved family again. They are all getting so old. Taller, deeper voices, all grown up. It was pretty crazy. I love them so much!! I have the best family anyone could ever hope for. On my mission I've come to realize how truly lucky I am. I don't know what I did to deserve such an amazing family. My heart longs for the day that we will all be together again. I miss them. But don't worry, I'm not trunky. I am loving everyday of my mission and I don't want it to ever end. The only good thing about ending a mission is being able to come home and be reunited with my loved ones.
I am grateful that my companion was able to join me for the skype. She was literally right beside me holding my hand the whole time. It was neat for her to be able to meet the people who I've told her so much about. When we sang "Families can be together forever" at the end of our skype call, it wasn't me that cried, but her. I just love her with all my little heart. Later that night she was able to phone call to her family. I was so happy when she put the phone on speaker, so I felt part of it. As she talked to each person I pointed to her family picture trying to guess which one she was talking to. It was a sweet experience.
-That afternoon me and Sister de Guzman sat down and opened the stalkings and presents my family had sent. I loved how much she loved her stalking. I loved all the things my family sent and just felt so loved. I gave my companion the present I had secretly coordinated with the members to get: an umbrella to replace her umbrella that just broke.
-Baptism of Michael!!! This was the best Christmas present anyone could ever ask for. We had finally got him to decide on a date, and it was this past . His baptism will go down as one of the highlights of my mission. Not because the baptism was a sweet experience (even though it was) but because of the change I have seen in this man. Because I know how wonderful his life will be now. I am just the luckiest missionary in the world to have been able to witness his conversion.
-Primary Program. yes I cried.
I think I said this last year, but it is worth repeating:
I thought that being a missionary was the best present I could give to God. Turns out it is the best present he could ever give me. I am so lucky to be a missionary.
Sister Abish "I Love my Family and my life" Curtis