Thanksgiving Weekend

November 29, 2010
Hello everybody!
Did you have a good Thanksgiving?  I have it in my memory as one of those slides making up the slideshow of this month.  Click, click, click.  Now it’s almost December.  A few more clicks and I’ll be a year out.  That’s what it feels like.
However, this week was like being swept up in a hurricane and we still haven’t quite gotten our feet on the ground.  Now that I’m district leader, I have to conduct companion exchanges with the other Elders at times that work for everybody.  The main issues are transportation, kilometer limits, and other meetings.  Each area is approximately an hour away, so that involves step 1) drive up.  Step 2) exchange.  Step 3) drive back. Step 4) work for the day.  Step 5) evaluate and teach each other. Step 6) sleep, eat, drive back. Step 7) exchange back.  Step 8) drive back.  Step 9) catch up with companion and resume work.  So it’s a lot of driving and it also refreshes yourself being with a different companion for the day as you show them the area and work together.

Shepparton District

This week, we had 2 consecutive exchanges, a district meeting, and then had to travel to Wangaratta to perform our Christmas pageant.  I got to do a lot of driving to other areas and back to host the other Elders in Shepparton while Elder Bartle took a 2-day holiday from Shepparton in Echuca and Finley.  I also hosted and prepared a training for the District Meeting.  On Friday, Elder Bartle and I helped load up the stage, lights, and sound equipment with the Solomons and rode to Wang.  After the performance, we talked with the folks who attended, then struck the set loaded it up, and drove back to Shepparton and didn’t get to bed until half past midnight.  On Saturday, we felt so out of rhythm with our area we could hardly think straight.  Today, we are in Echuca again for P-day with Elder Been and Elder Che in preparation for the Griffith Elders to come down from the moon so I can go to Melbourne for a leadership training meeting on Tuesday morning.
I really think the mission should invest in a helicopter.
However, the exchanges were very helpful for everybody, as tension is always building up inside every missionary and the exchange is a chance to release it.  I’ve learned that benig a leader means I am responsible for everybody’s well-being.  I like that job.  I don’t have to worry about myself, I can just make sure everybody else feels good.  Easy enough.
Also, our Christmas Pageant was an incredible experience.

The Christmas Show in Shepparton

Most of the audience was the Wangaratta branch, but they really appreciated it.  I find an interesting parallel being on a stage in front of bright lights in costume with inexperienced singers celebrating Christmas again.  Was it really a year ago I was doing the same thing in Harvard in the Christmas Revels?  I was worried sick before the show because my voice is out of shape and it keeps cracking every time I sing O Holy Night!  But I was drinking heaps of water and warming up all day, and by the time the show started, I felt just as good as ever.  I should be able to get a copy of the video from my Zone Leader.  After the show, one of the members said, “Why aren’t in you in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir!?”  Another member said, “He’s on his mission, of course!” “Well, when you get back, you march right up to President Monson and say I said you need to be in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir!”  Hahaha!  They were even more shocked when I told them I once got to sing alongside them as a guest in the BYU Singers.

The rest of the branch did fantastic.  They’ve never really seen any kind of production like this, let alone participated.  They made it their own and it all came together as we walked on the stage.  I am really proud of them.  They’ll never forget the experience, and it would never have been possible with the direction of the Solomons.  I wish you could have been there to see how it all just worked, despite all the anxiety and technical issues.

Loading up for the show

We have something special out here.

With another road trip, another meeting, and 2 more shows to go, I think this week will still leave me dazed at the end of it all, but I like that better than a boring week with nothing but doorknocking to do.  It is getting hard to find time to write letters, so I apologize in advance if my replies take longer to arrive.
Christmas is coming!  Get ready!  I love you all!
-Elder Scott Baker
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