What a great time of year. Yes, we should always have the savior in our hearts and on our minds, but it is still great to see this spirit of cheer and love spread among the world. People are excited, busy, warm and thinking about why we even have Christmas in the first place.
Almost everyone says they love the time of year because they get to spend time with loved ones, family and dear friends.
One lady we met was so excited to be able to be with her family, she shared a perfume-like scent thing with us that smelled like Christmas. She said she’d met mormons before and that they were all great examples to her and that she wouldn’t like to meet with us right now, but had interest in looking at the website and seeing what we actually beleived.
We had another cool experience on Christmas Eve, on our way home from the wonderful family who invited us over. The lady was all alone and from Iraq. She was heading to her family after a long and exhausting holiday. We talked with her, gave her some much needed attention and love and before we knew it, we were carrolling with her to church and christmas hymns on a bahn. She sang along in her own language and said she’d love to come to our church and sing with us.
These experiences are special because we know that we were exactly where the savior needed us to be at the right time. We know that when we share our gospel with them, they can feel love and true joy. That is what the season is all about, anyways. That is what missionary work is all about! Eternity is a long time, and the love and joy that comes with Christ is so large that it can be made better when we share it with a friend!
Germans celebrate Christmas just a little differently, of course. On the 24th they have ”Heilige Abend” this is when the kids receive presents from the Christkind (Christ child). WE were invited to the Family Erdle and we had SO MUCH FUN. We all came together (after skyping!!) and just talked and joked and it was like home to me. Then we went on a walk with the boys while mom ”finished dinner” and we walked around rural Germany at night. We saw horses, climbed a tiny rock wall at a park and went on swings and had a blast on the walk. The elders were hilarious, of course. Elder Vitel spun so fast on the swing that he was still sick on the ride to the bahn (train station).
Then we came back and dinner was ready and the Christkind had come! We all opened presents (yeah, he brought stuff for all of us missionaries too HOW SWEET we got books of Munich in German and English, body wash and cookies). Then, we had dinner– it was delicious and ice cream–even better.
On Christmas day, we started out by meeting some JAEs or YSAs at the church and delivered chocolate and a message to the less active JAEs in the wards- one guy sister Pratt and I went by answered the door ”Are you from the church?” we said ”Yes!” He said ”Okay… I just got out of the tub.. can you give me a second to put some clothes on?” Fighting laughter I said ”yea, no problem!” He came out in a Chewbacca robe! He is so funny. We talked and invited him to the JAE activity that night. We left and then laughed so hard.
Then, we taught Natalie and read the Christmas story and freaked out over our awesome presents from home (HOBBIT MUSIC!!!)…
and then went to the Whittaker Family (with the Elders and the McCormacks) who is from Oregon and there was a family there called the Wutters from …. Kingwood, Texas. They knew exactly who my grandparents were. They just showed up at church last week and the Whittakers invited them over randomly, even though they didnt know them. We laughed about that and then ate some GREAT food. Turkey, ham and steak and cheesecake was there. Then, we carrolled to all the neighbors in the military compound there. It was a BLAST.
The next day THERE WAS SNOW ON THE GROUND. The 26th is still Christmas here, so we went to an older lady’s home with the Elders. On our way a frantic mother stopped us and asked us to help her find her child. So we met the Elders at the bahn station by the lady’s house after helping find the child (We just prayed and it worked 🙂 and they didn’t know where she lived. It took us 45 minutes to find it!
We finally got there and had a lovely time with the 83-year-old single sister. We were able to share with her a scripture about Christ and she really enjoyed the company. We sang some hymns and really felt the spirit of Christmas, friendship and love.
That night the four of us went to the Kopischke’s for Rocklette.. that is the name of a cheese and a swiss dish. BEST FOOD EVER.
You have a grill thing (a lot like Fondue) and then you can put a small shovel-looking thing under it with a mixture of vegetables and etc. and you put a slice of the cheese over it. Then it melts and you put it over a small cooked potatoe. So GOOD. You can also cook meat on the top of the grill (bacon with peppers and pinneaple with the cheese is delicious!)
the family is also the best ever. We just laughed and shared about the gospel. Brüder Kopiscke tried to sell his brother to us (as usual… but he is joking so it’s okay) 😀 and told us if we ever come back, we have a place to stay 🙂 They are the best. They really do all they can to help the missionaries and members and everyone feel welcome, happy and accepted.
so basically it was wonderful! I am so blessed. and spoiled.
I have just had a GREAT time this holiday season, it really is a testimant to me that the Lord is proud of me and he knows that I am working hard and how great the members here are. They really took care of us and helped us feel at home. It was the most fun ever.
The best part was being able to give back somehow, in the candy canes we gave to people we talked with and the little bits of hope we can spread through videos, scriptures and the love of Christ.
This week we’ve hit the ground running and set up appointments with a few new people. WE are excited to be able to be servants of the Lord!
This week will be the start of a new year. I cannot beleive how fast this time is going by. Really, time goes by much too fast, especially as a missionary. My best advice, or the best thing I’ve learned is to LOVE the time, the people and the situation you’ve got.. even if it seems impossible to love.
The savior is always there for you, just like He was for Peter when he started to sink into the waves. There will be waves, you will falter, but don’t let it get you down. As I try to live this principle, I find myself happy even when it’s freezing cold, or when we have fewer teaching appointments and I am able to keep going and improving.
Well, it was a great week! Transfer calls are in 2 weeks already. Will I stay or go? 🙂
I don’t know!