Thursday, December 27, 2012

Joshua's Skype call and email - 12/25 & 26

Joshua during our Skype call

We had an exciting Skype call with Joshua on Christmas day.  It was wonderful to be able to SEE him and to hear him sounding so great.  He laughed a lot and his companion joked around with him quite a bit.  I loved seeing that they get along so well.  Joshua said he was worried about putting on weight since everyone feeds them so much, but he and Elder G exercise and run every day, so I think he'll be alright.  ;o)  He told us this completely dorky joke:  "Why do the Lamanites have trouble walking?  Because of all the knee-fights."  Boo.  ;o)  Anyway, I honestly can't remember much of what we talked about, but I remember feeling reassured that he is doing great and is happy.  I love that boy!

Here's his email from yesterday, and dang it!  I missed him when he was emailing so I didn't get to respond to him like I normally do.  I was busy taking the tree down and completely forgot that his P-day got switched.  Argh!

Merry (late) Christmas!  I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas!

This past week and a half was pretty enjoyable.  Last Monday we had dinner at a member family's house.  We made the mistake of telling them that we don't eat many veggies in the apartment, so they made it their goal to make sure the Sun Prairie ward ALWAYS gives the missionaries veggies!  It can be a good or a bad thing depending on how you look at it. Haha.

Tuesday, we had a district meeting.  Elder G taught it for the first time, and it went really well!  We have a Christlike attribute training each week during our district meetings, and this one was a really good one about being charitable and showing unconditional love for others.  We felt the Spirit strongly as we talked about how we can have more charity for others, and we all learned a lot from it.  Later that night, we had dinner at Sarah's!  Some missionaries talk about how they develop a lot of love for some of their investigators, and that's how it was for us with Sarah.  She made it really easy!  She always has questions about the gospel or about missionary work or temples, and she's really funny, so we enjoy talking to her.  After dinner, the zone leaders came and exchanged with us, so I stayed in Sun Prairie with Elder H.  He's a pretty cool kid, I think he's been out for about a year and a half.  He had a lot of the same concerns that I had when I first got to the MTC, and when I first came into the field, so he helped me understand how to overcome those challenges.  It was really funny though, because Elder G. and I are some of the only missionaries that exercise really hard in the mornings.  Others usually stretch and do a couple pushups and situps, but that's about it.  I told Elder H, "Make sure you bring some supportive underwear, a helmet, and an athletic cup so that we can do my Spartacus Crossfit workout in the morning." And he had a really concerned look on his face and said, "Uh... What is that?"  Elder G and I busted up laughing.  We both made it our goals to make every missionary who we go on exchanges with JACKED! Haha!

Wednesday, Elder H and I got a lot of work done.  We visited M and B and planned to teach them revelation through the Book of Mormon and prayer, but we ended up teaching them the entire Plan of Salvation, unplanned, as a companionship who has never taught together before.  It actually went really well and Elder H said my teaching and my knowledge of the scriptures is really good for only being out for 2.5 months, haha.  I've got a long way to go, but it definitely made me feel good!

Thursday, it snowed 1.5-2 feet of snow, and so Elder G couldn't leave the apartment.  We tried to get the car out, but we noticed that the guy in the parking lot across from ours couldn't even get his 4-wheel drive truck out of the snow, so there was no way we could get the Chevy Malibu out. Most of our zone wasn't able to leave their apartments for the day because of how bad the weather was.  Everyone figured that it probably really was the end of the world! Haha.  Anyway, Elder G and I studied our scriptures, read Jesus the Christ, and ate.   A LOT.  It was a pretty long day, to say the least, haha.

Saturday, we spent a lot of the day shoveling snow for ourselves and some less active families, so that was pretty enjoyable.  Sunday we went to church with K and had our Christmas program.  Elder G and I sang in the choir and taught the lesson in our Gospel Principles class.  We have to teach in this ward a lot!  We got asked to give talks on January 13th, too. It made me think about when I gave my farewell talk, and I said (jokingly), "Well, I'm glad this is the last time I'll have to give a talk for the next two years."  Yeah, I don't think I'll be able to get away with that here!

Sunday and Monday night collectively, we had like 5 lunch and dinner appointments, and all but 1 of them was Mexican food.  You can probably guess how Elder G and I have been feeling the past couple days.  Luckily, some of the members gave us lots of Gas-X.  The ward here really cares about their missionaries :)  Haha!  I tried to put off opening presents until at least Christmas Eve night (because we wouldn't have time on Christmas, we had District meeting and proselyting to do), but I only made it to Christmas Eve morning.  Elder G tried tempting me to open them all, but I kept telling him I was going to wait until later at night.  He finally got me to open JUST ONE, and then I couldn't stop.  He took a shower, and by the time he was finished, all my presents were opened.  It's funny how the adversary works in those ways to get us to just justify little things, and slowly, those things become bigger and bigger things.  Don't tell Elder G that I just compared him to the adversary... haha!

Anyway, Christmas was really fun, and we had a great District meeting.  We learned a lot and we got a lot of work done before we went to dinner at a member family's house and then skyped our families!  It all came and went pretty quick, but I'm excited to see what next year has in store for me!

I'll leave you with a thought, about a Christlike attribute that I've been thinking and studying a lot about lately - Hope.  A lot of times, I think people use hope as kind of a lazy word, like, "I hope I get a good grade on this math test," when they don't really do anything about it (i.e. they didn't study - which I'm definitely guilty of!).  Christ had a perfect brightness of hope, and that example is the very opposite of today's definition of hope.  Hope comes from our faith in Christ, which requires us serving Him.  That means we have to work to strengthen that faith, and then, we can hope, or EXPECT, that God will bless us or carry out his end of the deal.  He'll carry us if we show him we're dedicated to serving Him, and we can strive to obtain that perfect brightness of hope and KNOW that good things are to come.  I don't know why I find that so interesting, but I do.  Think and ponder on that! Read Moroni 7:40-48.  Look to see how important that it is that we have hope, and strive to obtain that perfect brightness of hope that it talks about in 2 Nephi 31: 20.

"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men.  Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life."

In that verse we are actually *commanded* to press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men.  So we need to be diligent, have hope, and charity towards all men.  As we do those things and continually apply the atonement into our lives as we read our scriptures, attend church, and pray to develop our relationship with God, and help us to actually *know* God and come closer to Him, we are promised eternal life, which is the greatest gift our Father in Heaven has for us.

Good stuff!

Anyway, I love you all, and THANK YOU for all the Christmas gifts and packages!  Thank you for all your love and support!

Elder Whicker

No comments:

Post a Comment