On the days leading up to Christmas, not much happened. We've been really trying hard to invite a lot of less active members and investigators to our ward Christmas party. We had a big list of 17 LA's that had some good reactivation potential that we wanted to hit, and on Christmas Eve we finished checking off the last few. A friend in the ward has a print shop, and she helped us make little Christmas cards inviting them. A bunch of people's houses were in very weird locations in the middle of no where, but we finally ended up getting all of them contacted.
Then came the big day, it was actually pretty normal and boring for the most part... Number one highlight by far was skyping the family!!! It was so fun to see all you guys, and can't believe its been 6 months since I last saw you! It started off a little crazy, because it was hard to get a hold of you (myldsmail was down, oh man I was raging) but eventually we figured it out. The 45 minutes went by so much faster than they should have, but I loved every moment. I have to say that I think it was harder to say goodbye there than it was at the MTC... I think I now realize just how crazy it is to be away from home for so long. I couldn't really comprehend it back then. No worries, I only have to wait like 5 months this time because mothers day is in May! can't wait! We kind of had a normal day after that, but then a super crazy ward Christmas party after. Elder McDougal and I were super excited to see some of the LA's there, and a bunch of nonmembers came. We met some really cool people that could have some potential!
The party was so funny, half of it was a big dinner, and then both our ward and the other put on a big play. It was nuts and probably went for an hour and half. It started in the pre existence and covered the nativity, Joseph smith, and the pioneers coming west. Its hard to describe well, but just picture about 50 Asians all acting out the war in heaven, lots of confusing churches during Joseph smiths time, and the trek west. It was seriously one of the funniest things I have ever seen! I couldn't stop laughing, but also they did a good job making it serious and informative when it needed to be for the investigators. I think they may have thought it was a little weird, but also thought it was pretty funny. The best part of the party came at the end, when I got to play the role of Santa Claus! haha it was so funny, and I finally had something useful to do with the extra weight I've put on since getting on island! We had a bunch of little gift bags that I gave out, and I would just belt "HO HO HO" or merry Christmas, or something weird in Chinese. They absolutely ate it up (at least I think they did) The kids thought it was super fun, and now they all call me "Sheng Dan a gong gong" (which is Santa in Chinese) at church. The party went super well and was a really good thing to take my mind off the skype, it kinda made me depressed..
The last thought I'd like to leave you kind of comes from Elder Bednar's talk he gave at the Christmas devotional. Bear with me we watched it in Chinese, so I may not have gotten exactly the right things out of it, but Elder McDougal helped me understand. We watched it last Sunday night. He talked about the Book of Mormon account of Christ's birth and how there was light for a day a night and a day. He spoke on how the coming of Christ brought in a literal sense light to the Nephite nation. I love the illustration of Christ bring light into our lives. I have seen it in various investigators already on my mission, as well as the increase of light in my own life as I try to consecrate it more fully to Him. Christ and His Atonement really can change everyone, and I'm more grateful now then ever for that precious gift. I love you all and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!