Hey guys! I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas and that it was full of family, food, and fun. Plus the Savior... because, ya know... He's the whole reason we celebrate Christmas :)
We started our Christmas celebrating off on Wednesday at district meeting. After the usual missionary stuff, we read the Christmas story, watched Mr. Krueger's Christmas, and ate donuts and popcorn. It was almost like being at home for our Christmas Eve program... minus the family. Plus the singing sounded a little bit better this year :) Haha.
We got jerk chicken from a little old man on the side of the road for Christmas Eve dinner... yummy yummy yummy. I may have to make that a new tradition for Christmas Eve at home. Although I don't actually know how to jerk so that could be a problem.
Christmas day was amazing! We had a breakfast appointment with the district, and then we went and skyped. It was so good to see everyone's faces and talk to you guys! Ahhhh I missed that :) But anywho after skyping, we went caroling as a district. We visited a few less active members and a few people that for whatever reason can't leave their houses. There was one visit that will forever stick in my brain. I'll admit, I wasn't in the best mood when we got to their house. It was like 90 degrees, we'd been walking for about an hour, and I was just kind of missing Christmas at home. But then we got to this house with this old couple that can't really leave. They're both in wheelchairs, she's almost blind and pretty much completely deaf, and he can't really move around much. They literally were doing nothing for Christmas, and I've never seen faces light up so quickly as theirs did when we started singing Christmas carols on their porch. They invited us in and we had a little visit with them in which I learned a ton of lessons.
1. Eternal marriage is amazing. Even though this couple can barely take care of themselves, they still sacrifice to help the other person every day. They've been married for over 50 years, and he was still talking about his wife like they're newlyweds. You guys, the gospel is true! Why else would people work so hard to make a marriage work?
2. Serving others is the key to true happiness. As we sang songs and shared scriptures and the elders gave her a blessing, I completely forgot all the things I'd been worried about five minutes before. I was just overwhelmed with the Savior's love for these people and I realized that this is why we're here! Because He isn't here in person right now, so it's up to us to share His love with all of His children!
3. Even though I spent this Christmas in a different country with a completely different culture surrounded by people i really don't know, I realized that the spirit of Christmas felt the same that it does at home. We were still celebrating the birth of the same Savior that I had come to know and love over all of those years in Colorado. And that Savior loves all of these people here in Jamaica, and they love Him! Which means Christmas still felt like Christmas after all.
So basically that is the story of how I learned that I need to not be as selfish and focus on just helping others! Which I suppose is something I keep learning over and over again, and I'll probably keep learning it until I've mastered the concept :) Thank heavens missions give you so many chances to grow and improve... I've really come to know over the last few weeks how far I have to go :)
Ummmm other things that we did this week...
We had like 5,000 meal appointments (that's only a slight exaggeration), and some of them were back to back. And Jamaicans give you a ton of food, which meant there were times when I literally could not eat anymore but my plate still looked very full. At times like that, I developed a huge appreciation for elders' stomachs. I would just slip them some of my food when the people weren't looking and they took care of it for me :) haha.
We walked A LOT in the blazing sun this week trying to find less active members and new investigators... we found a few new people that seem to have a lot of potential so that's good!
In all, this week and the last few weeks overall have been really hard. I'm learning so much about the gospel and the value of hard work and obedience though. I find so much comfort and strength in the Book of Mormon and the Bible every day... I love those books. Ya'll should definitely read them sometime. Like today :) And every day :) They're true!
Anyways. I'm sorry this email was so rambling-y. (Is that a word? Probs not.) But I just had a lot to tell ya'll!
Okay so I love you all and I hope you have a wonderful week! Enjoy your New Year's!
Our shadows walking in the blazing hot sun... notice the lack of people available for us to talk to haha.
|Christmas Morning Packages|
|Christmas Morning Breakfast!|
Christmas morning breakfast: breadfruit, spice bread, fried dumpling, and ackee and bacon! Yummy yummy :)
|The elders in our district.|
|This is what Christmas looks like in Jamaica. Very green!|
We asked one of the elders to take our picture... he yelled something about hipsters and started taking a bunch of weird pictures. So this is the best one we have. Haha. Oh well.
The town Christmas tree! It's HUGE! And very fake haha. But it was still lovely :)