Buenos Dias, mi familia y amigos!
"Tuesday?", you ask? Yes, this week I'm writing on a Tuesday. We had our big Christmas Zone Conference yesterday, so our P-Day was moved to today for this week. As far as I know, next week will be on Monday, as usual.Zone Conference was great, as usual, with some great training and counsel from President and Sister Blackburn, as well as the APs and some of the Zone Leaders. The four of us sisters in my zone (the Marina zone, for those of you who were or were not wondering...) did a special musical number, and it turned out really nicely. It was a Sally DeFord arrangement of "What Child is This?", and is really a beautiful arrangement! The Christmas ZC is a little longer than usual, with a big group picture taken at the beginning, and a fun little Christmas program at the end, after dinner. "Santa" (Pres. Blackburn) came and read us all "The Grinch," which was SO fun!!! After he read to us, we each had a chance to come up, and the Elders got to sit on Santa's lap for a picture and a little gift, while the Sisters got to go and stand by Santa...also for a picture and a gift. :) It was really fun! I'm actually really enjoying Christmas on the mission, and almost wish that I got two! But that's fine...I'm reallly trying to live it up all I can, especially now that I have less than a year left! AAAAAAH.
We have a little tiny (as in maybe 6 inches tall) Christmas tree up in our apartment, a little wreath on our door, and the Senior couple who live next door put lights up along the railing out front :) MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! I'll take some pictures of everything and send it home so that you can see what our little L.A. Christmas looks like :) Maybe I'll try to get some pictures of the temple all decorated too!
By way of mission business, we were asked yesterday to please write home and ask our families to please NOT call the mission office unless it's something really urgent. The office is really busy, and I guess they've gotten a few calls along the lines of "Did Elder...get his package yet?" or, "Do you know if my son needs more socks?" or, "I didn't hear from my missionary last week - is everything ok?" So yeah... I'm not terribly worried about y'all calling, but thought I'd mention it anyway. They told us to tell our families to just think, "If my son/daughter was on a mission in Mongolia, would I make this phone call?" and judge by that.
ANYWAYS... We have a baptism coming up this Sunday!!! And Grandma Lynes, guess what? She's Russian!!! She's actually from Uzbekistan, but is and speaks Russian. Her name is Sasha Rubini, and she's just great! She actually just moved to the US back in October, and married a brother in our ward, which was her connection to learning about the church. She doesn't speak very much English (though she IS learning very quickly, and no, her husband doesn't speak Russian...and no, I don't really know how that works either), so we've taught her through a translator this whole time. It's been such a cool experience, and a really good opportunity for the brother in our ward who translates to brush up on his Russian! Bro James (our translator) actually mentioned last night how really awesome this has been! He said it's been really neat to see Sasha, and to see how completely open and prepared she was to receive the gospel. She reads everything we give her in her Russian BofM, she prays, she has a testimony of Joseph Smith, and is willing to keep all of the commandments, no problem! Last night we taught the WoW, and although she's a coffee drinker, she said she'd give it up! It's been a little bit challenging because between the language barrier and the fact that she tends to be fairly shy, it was kind of hard to tell exactly where she was testimony-wise at first, but she's since opened up a lot more, and really is SO GREAT!!! We watched "The Restoration" with her in Russian last night, which was really cool too! So yeah, we're really excited for her baptism this Sunday! Keep us in your prayers!!!
WELCOME HOME, ALEX!!!!! Don't worry, I'll hold down the missionary work for ya out here in the field if you'll help me readjust when my time comes! Hope you had an amazing mission, and that your "transistion" goes well! God Speed, Elder, I know the Lord is proud of you for all that you've done in serving an honorable mission!
Alright, well I'm about out of time again. Please know that I love you and that I'm doing well. I really do love it out here, ups and downs and all!
The church is true, and so is the Book of Mormon!
"Be good, and no more sadness!"
I LOVE YOU!!!!!
I <3 Being a missionary!