Hello one and all!
First things first: how to call me on Christmas! 9:00am will be fine,
or 10:00am here. I'll just be doing my morning studying. The sad thing
is that I only have 40 minutes. I thought it would be an hour at least
but President Fraatz told us yesterday that we only have 40 minutes. So
we'll have to talk fast! I have the number of the lady who cooks for us
so you'll just have to call me. I'm pretty sure that first you dial
00505 and then her number which is 86029182. I'll have her phone
Christmas morning. I'm not sure if a test call is allowed but if you
are worried maybe you could do a test call. We are at her house from
about 12:30-1:15pm and 5:15-6:00pm. I think it should work Christmas
morning though. So, I'm very excited to hear all your voices. You have
to forgive me for being lame... I didn't send anything home for you for
Christmas. Well, except that one letter but that really doesn't have
anything to do with Christmas. I've just been so preoccupied with
getting my feet under me that it didn't even occure to me until this
week and I haven't really had time to think much about it. I'll try to
send something soon though.
This week we had a Christmas Activity for all the missionaries. It was
really fun. We had a devotional from President Fraatz that was really
good. Actually he kind of cracked down on us, but it was motivating.
He's really strict but it helps us to be obedient and focused. He spoke
for a few minutes in English to the North Americans. He told us that he
really felt like we needed to step up our effort. Most of us have been
blessed to be born in the church, we know how the organization works,
what it's like to grow up in a family of committed members. Many of us
have pioneer heritage, ancestors who literally gave everything for the
church and the gospel. And how sad would it be for us to come out here
and not give our all, to not feel those feelings that our
great-grandparents felt for the gospel because of the sacrifices they
made. It gave more meaning to the compass around my neck. My pioneer heritage means a lot to me. It made me wonder, am I really sacrificing my all? Do I have the same feelings that they did, is my testimony as strong, and am I willing to give like they did? It made me want to work harder, to give more when I feel like I have nothing left. To really put my best effort forward and learn to sacrifice. Like Jenny Thornton said, in reality we give so little and the Lord blesses us with so much. Well, I want to give a little more.
After the devotional we were divided up into about ten teams and played
some games, mostly involving water balloons. There was also a
watermelon eating contest and a huge blow-up slip and slide. It was
pretty fun. And of course we broke piñatas. This time we had sticks
I've been thinking a lot this week on how to help the members and
recent converts in our little branch catch the vision of this gospel and
realize the importance of the basics such as coming to church, paying
tithing, keeping the word of wisdom, keeping the sabath day holy,
reading the scriptures everyday, family prayer. I feel like I've taken
these things for granted my whole life. What a difference they make! I
want to start teaching the members more about temples. I've been
surprised to find out how many recent converts really don't even know
what a temple is. It's so critical how we follow up with our recent
converts. In our little branch in Nagarote, we don't have ward members
to rely on to teach the recent converts what they need to know to really
get started in the church. Retaining those we baptize is a huge part of
the work and helping them really start to understand the gospel is a
huge job. But it's an amazing work to be a part of.
Being a missionary is the best thing in the world - we are literally
Christ's representatives on the earth.
I am so grateful to be preaching the gospel of JESUS CHRIST especially
at this time of the year.
I can't wait to talk to you lovely family.
Love, Hna. Crosland