Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas, again!

Merry Christmas (again!) my dear family!!

It was sooooo wonderful to talk to you on the phone this weekend. I love you all so much, and it was fun to get a little glimpse of what Christmas was like at home this year. I'm so glad you were all able to be so happy and have so much fun together. It also brought me SO much joy to read an overview of all the 12 Deeds of Christmas you did this year. Seriously, thanks for doing that, and thanks for sharing your experiences with me :)

One fun Christmas activity I forgot to tell you about was a mission activity we had this week on Thursday. All the missionaries in the southern half of Taiwan gathered together in ZhangHua to see a huge Buddha and traveled around to LuGang to for some street market shopping and to see some more temples. Then we went to a huge Chinese buffet, kinda Mongolian barbeque style with lots of other yummy things to eat as well! Lots of the "sight-seeing" and shopping was old school to me, but it was still so much fun. The BEST part was re-uniting with the missionaries I served with in the MTC and just talking and talking, sharing with them my experiences from serving in Idaho, and hearing about their adventures of serving here for the past month. I almost felt like Ammon when he got reunited with his mission buddies... and I thought to myself, "man, if I feel this much intense joy from seeing my missionary buddies after serving for only 2 months, how much more intense will it be after a year and a half?!" I really just might faint, haha :)

I also didn't realize how many people I already know in this mission, and how many connections I already have! Jordan Hoffheins found me, and I found Liz from Hong Kong (I forgot her last name...with the really long hair), and someone from my Chinese 212 class, and someone from my First Aid class at BYU, as well as Sister Ith, who knows SO many of my friends from growing up (Cameron Gygi, Ee Chien, and other people... it's crazy how many people we know without having ever met before!) Man, it's so fun to serve with such amazing friends, and to make even more!

Mom, you asked about how the biking weather was. It's actually pretty good, with the exception of the first full day I had with my companion. It was raining and FREEZING and we accidentally bought "xiao pengyou" ponchos that barely reached past our elbows and not quite to our knees... sounds pretty pathetic (and it probably was) but we laughed the whole day about it. Needless to say, I bought a coat so I wouldn't be freezing the next time it rains, and we know now to look carefully for what size poncho we buy! Other than that it's been good, and my skirts (mostly) work for biking :) I'm going to buy some gloves so my hands don't get so cold on the handlebars. I love riding my bike. It's awesome!!

Thank you so much for the painting of Christ waiting for me when I get home. That is one of the best Christmas gifts I could receive. I love to fill my life with Christ and His teachings, and doing the things He does because that brings the most happiness. He, with all His perfect knowledge, showed us the most perfect way to live that will bring the most happiness and will lead us safely through this life, and through eternity.

I love you all so much, and I think about you often. Thanks for your prayers too. I need that strength. The work is hard, but I know that the Lord is blessing and sustaining me, much of which is because of the prayers in my behalf. My prayers are getting answered in miraculous ways too. I love the Lord and His merciful, loving care for me. I pray that He will continue to bless each one of you too, in the most perfect way that He does. I pray that each of you will be able to have the strength to follow His teachings more closely, for that is when He is able to bless us most. That is what I strive to do every day of my mission.

I love you more than I can say! Thanks for writing, and thanks for sending me Jordan's talk. I laughed so hard when I read about the tithing settlement experience, haha :) I'll write more to each of you next week!

Love, love, love,

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