Hey Family and friends!
Oh what a week it has been! Christmas was just wonderful and I
realized it's going to be weird next year not jumping around from
house to house with a set agenda. I loved it and I loved most of all
talking to my family. I was explaining to mom and dad that it is not a
sin to be excited to go home from your mission. That doesn't mean
you're trunky! Trunky missionaries stop working effectively and lose
the desire to serve, in most cases. There is so much more for me to do
in the 4 months ago exactly as of yesterday that I have left. Happy
Birthday Katie, btw!
At our Christmas Zone Conference on Tuesday, there were about 90
missionaries from 4 zones which made for a fun get-together. It's
probably not supposed to be called a get together. Whoops. They held a
talent show with some pretty creative numbers. Perhaps my favorite was
Elder Milligan, an African American Elder who did several skits
depicting the kind of people they come in contact with in North
Philly. It was pretty humorous because naturally he did a good job
mimicking the people off the streets of Philly. But he got to the last
skit and we saw him turn toward the stage away from the missionaries
to situate his du-rag on his head and put his grillz in. Grillz are
the bling bling that people put on their teeth as a flashy crown. In
philly there are bus advertisements with grillz for sale at some
business. Kinda funny. Anyway, he got up there, his comp acted as the
missionary. It started off pretty funny with the thug, crips Elder
Milligan acting pretty standoffish toward his missionary companion.
But as the skit went on, it turned unexpectedly spiritual and solemn.
Most thugs and people on the street aren't going to want to hear about
some Jesus Christ. Or so we'd think. Such was the case with Elder
Milligan. He bore powerful testimony of the power we carry as
emissaries of the truth. He was living that life when the missionaries
stopped and talked to him on the street. His life changed forever.
That was just about 2 years ago. I felt bad for all those people I've
judged to be "a thing of naught," just assuming they'd rather us just
keep walking. I bet those missionaries wouldn't have guessed that a
random kid on the street would one day be a powerful representative of
So that kind of set the Christmas Spirit, then the next day on
Christmas Eve we had a few people to visit. The most beautiful
experience, however, was in a hospital room, at the bedside of a
member who had the whole Ward worried and praying about his life and
well-being. I had met him not a week before, and here he was with
tubes out the wazoo and cords and monitors, and all sorts of machines.
Perhaps I second guessed my desire to go into medicine....ha jk.
Brother Harsh's wife and a nurse soon entered the room where we had
been waiting just a minute. They talked for several minutes, then we
asked if we could sing them a song. I swear the nurse was Mormon!
Sometimes they just have that look, Ya know? We sang our guitar/vocal
rendition of Away in a Manger. Sister Harsh sat down as we began and
before the first verse had ended, she put her face in her hands and
began to cry. She felt so hopeless, helpless and distraught as her
husband lay unconscious on a hospital bed. She knew Christmas would be
very different this year. So hearing the sweet words of the Gentle
Christ filled her with enough hope and strength to get through. I'm
making a narrative out of an otherwise speechless exchange.
Barry Harsh tried to open his eyes as we softly said his name and
lightly touched his hand. What a joy it is being on the Lord's errand,
being an instrument in His Hands and having the opportunity to feel
the sweet Christmas Spirit as I did that night.
Christmas was simple and beautiful as well. We decorated our apt and
opened presents here. I tried something different this year, perhaps I
was already in an emotional mood, but I opened to Luke 2 and read the
account of the Savior's birth between presents. It was just a sacred
experience, a tradition that I'd like to start when I have my own
family. Some may say that I'm too spiritual or a "Peter Priesthood"
but raising kids half heartedly in the gospel in this world just ain't
going to work. We had 7 appts but were only able to make it to 6. I
was so happy to finally meet my niece Averi! Love her already!
At MLC, there was a brief testimony meeting and one of the Elders got
up and bore a powerful testimony of Christ and His ability to heal and
comfort and provide any source of strength and peace that we could
ever need. "That He may know according to the flesh how succor His
people according to their infirmities." -Alma 7:11-13
Because He suffered all he knows how to heal all. Some may say, how
could you possibly believe in the healing powers of someone you can't
even see? To which I say, TRY IT. Try His fruit. Trust that He, as the
Great Physician, has the perfect prescription for you. The
prescription that saves us all. I'm so grateful for the members here
that truly made my Christmas a memorable one.
Love you and Happy New Year!