December 12, 2011

To answer everyones questions about Christmas. I am quite disappointed in the way that the people here in England Celebrate Chirstmas... because they pretty much don't. :( Honestly I can't believe how little the celebrate here. It is all about money and gifts and nothing about what it really should be about. Those who do put lights up though (less than 1%) are really fantastic. they go all out and help me feel the Christmas spirit. It is as if they see none of their neighbors putting anything up so they feel it is necessary to put enough up for everyone on the block. I am very grateful for their efforts. Anyone who has lighting up, we always knock on their door because we know they have a heart. :) It is a great finding tactic.

Often I ask what Christmas means to people when we talk to them and most people say "nothing really, it is just time off of work." If they are somewhat caring about life they say family which is an adequate response. Overall though, people just don't care about the true meaning. It is really sad... When we do find someone who understands the real meaning it makes my day and makes it much much much easier to be happy and animated when talking with them because they are fellow believers which makes the conversation much easier. It is interesting to see the different type of people in life and how it works. Those that do believe more often than not are much happier then those that don't. Those that don't are only focused on getting money or gifts and they are never satisfied and always want more. I am grateful for the knowledge I have and the life it helps me to live.

Looking back, this past week has been a blur of running around doing things out of the ordinary. Or at least out of the ordinary of what I am used to doing. We spent all morning and an afternoon moving to a new flat, and we also spent two days up in the far north with Elder Ericksen and Elder Baker in Workington. May I just say that the use of hats is a very good idea when you are that far north. I don't know if it is always like that, but that was easily the worst weather I have ever been in on my mission. Between the Rain/Snow/Wind/Cold it was an interesting experience to say the least. I think that going with only a coat factored into the extreme measure of coldness. Next time I will be sure to wear some thermals with a jumper, scarf and a bigger coat. :) It was really fun to be working in the area with Elder Ericksen and getting to know him better.

Some principles I have been able to remember and focus on this week: Allowing others to take more lead in Lessons, planning, street contacting and all other aspects of the work so as to help them learn and grow. A large part of being a leader is understanding how to help other missionaries progress by showing them how to do work themselves. As they do so they will appreciate the growth a lot more. Also switching off frequently in Lessons and QGC's so as to be unified in teaching and allowing the spirit to testify. We all know from Preach My Gospel that "people are accustomed to short Powerful statements."

We have been able to teach a few Chinese students on a consistant basis this past week and we have offered to help review some of their papers due this week. They have really appreciated our help and in turn it strengthend our relationship and their trust in us. They feel we care about them more than just teaching them about Jesus Christ. Service truly does invite the spirit into others lives. Something I have learned about service is that we should allows allow or accept service from others because as we do we help them feel the love and spirit when they do, making them more receptive to the things being taught. So we ALWAYS accept small acts of kindness as long as they don't go against the Word of Wisdom or other rules we have as missionaries. :)

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