On Christmas we got together as a zone and opened our Christmas presents, and then had a white elephant gift exchange with random stuff missionaries have left in our apartments. I ended up getting a hockey stick... After that we played games like charades and signs and then Sister Gattud and I left so that I could FaceTime my family! It was so fun to get to see and talk to everyone! And I was very happy to have proof that Dixie is still alive and well :)
Later that day we had a Christmas lunch with our Relief Society president and her family and another couple in the ward. We had pineapple glazed ham and lots of mashed potatoes so I was happy! I think my family must be the only ones who don't traditionally eat ham for Christmas...I didn't really realize it was such a big holiday tradition until we had it for our ward Christmas party, mission Christmas party, on Christmas Eve, and on Christmas day!
It was definitely the warmest Christmas I have ever experienced! It was like 70 degrees all day, even when it was raining!
Unfortunately it was a pretty slow week as far as getting to teach the gospel goes. Of course all of the people we normally meet with were too busy, and it turns out that people REALLY don't want to take time on talk to strangers about Jesus Christ on Christmas Eve or Christmas. Well...that's not quite true. There were like two people that talked to us, but they both had some very interesting religious beliefs. For example, one of them says he is Catholic, but he believes that Jesus faked his own death and that Judas is the real hero because he lost his life helping Jesus pull off this scheme...
But hopefully things will pick up this next week! Haha last week was certainly one of a lot of ups and downs!
One of the downs/miracles: we got in a bit of a car accident yesterday. The car in front of me randomly stopped at an intersection even though the light was green. I think he was trying to decide whether to turn or not..I don't know. But I slammed on my brakes but realized I wouldn't be able to stop in time so I swerved over into the left lane and got hit by the pickup truck behind me. Fortunately the driver of the truck saw what was happening and put on her brakes as well or else we would have gotten hit a lot harder! Thankfully no one was hurt! The car that caused it just kept driving away, I was just grateful that the woman I swerved in front of wasn't mad at me or blaming us. She actually felt really bad when she saw us get out of the car because she thought she hit a couple nuns! We didn't get a ticket or anything, I'm not sure what the accident report will say but hopefully I won't loose my mission vehicle driving privileges! Sister Gattud can't drive so that would probably led to an emergency transfer and all sorts of not fun stuff. All things considered I am just very grateful that we are safe and sound and that the car still works ok!
On a funnier note, last night we had dinner with some members (ham soup) and the sister's mother was in town from Vermont. Her mother is a very interesting character haha! She is not a member, and insisted on calling us by our first names. She was very polite to us, but apparently finds it amusing to go to church history sites to argue with the missionaries. Her and her son in law got into a very enthusiastic debate about the Church over desert, and Sister Gattud and I stayed out of it, but overall it was just a very entertaining and enjoyable evening!
This email is getting long because I actually wrote it first rather than emailing everyone back, but just a final thought, I can't believe that last December 28th I was giving my farewell talk! What a year it has been! Last December 28th I was giving my farewell talk, and now I've been a missionary for almost a year! And what a year it has been! I think we sometimes think of the mission as "putting our life on hold" for 18 months, but I've had more learning and growing experiences in the past year than I could ever have had back home! My education might have been put on hold, but when I get back I know I will be a better student because of the study habits I have learned. Socially I have made life-long friends and met so many different kinds of people! And my personal and spiritual growth have been priceless.
2016 will be split between the mission and home, and I'm excited for all that the Lord has in store for me!
Happy New Year everyone!