December 26, 2010
Merry Christmas everybody!
I hope everybody enjoyed themselves this weekend. Christmas was a crazy week for us that we’re still recovering from.
Christmas is a busy time for everybody, so a lot of our visits were people not yet home or people saying, “Try back after New Year’s. So, that’s left us with a lot of holes in our schedule. We decided to take advantage of the time by staying with members and other Elders for all the celebrations going on.
The mission had its Christmas conference on Wednesday in which we got to have performances of Christmas songs. I went up twice, one for O Holy Night with Sister Solomon and then again with 4 other Elders to sing Silent Night a cappella. There was one Elder who sang a funny song with his guitar. Elder Peek said, “Oh no! Keep him away from the Sisters!” Haha!
We had a read-through of the Nativity and sang carols together as a mission, then Sister Lifferth gave us a quiz of the facts surrounding the Nativity. It turns out a lot of the representations of Christmas are speculation and not fact. For example, how many wise men were there? The Bible doesn’t say. I got 50% on the quiz, so next time I’ll have to study. We ate lunch together, and then all sat down for Toy Story 3. I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it, the whole thing is beautiful. For us it’s a rare treat, so we soaked it up. We got our Christmas packages, said goodbye and headed back home. Elder Bartle even went the extra mile and bought me a Transformers mug for Christmas. I was so happy. I use it too. It’s perfect. It goes with the Transformers belt buckle I bought at the market. 😛
At 5:30 in the morning, a bunch of Elders gathered together at a park to play touch rugby. At first it was one-sided because it was mainly Americans vs. Kiwis (New Zealanders) and Polynesians. Americans don’t play rugby, so we were getting smashed until finally we did some switches and got more Elders playing. You have to be quick and play as a team so that you can pass the ball to somebody before you get tagged. My sneakers weren’t the best on the wet grass versus everybody else’s cleets, so I got some dirt on me. It was good fun. I’m still sore from it, so I know I did a good job.
Because Australia is blazing hot at Christmas time, “Christmas” translates to “Sports party day.” We went to the Christmas party that Tuvao’s family was holding, where they had ping pong, volleyball, and they even got a pinata for the kids to smack around. They also had an umu, remember, the pig on the spit over the fire. When family is far away, it felt great to be included in their family for their celebration. I really enjoyed it.
Afterwards, we went to a sports party that Hampton Park was holding. Basketball, volleyball, and of course food. I really enjoy volleyball now. Nothing beats a perfect set and getting to jump up in the air and spike the ball as hard as possible. I love it.
I didn’t anticipate how it would feel at Christmas time. What shocked me the most was driving around town between parties and activities and seeing zero cars on the streets. Everybody was home with their families enjoying the holiday. We got to enjoy it too, but not the way I preferred. However, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t really worth it. Pretty soon things will go back to normal and work will pick up just like always. There’s still so much to do, progress to make, lessons to learn.
I loved my packages. My favorite was the family photo calendar.
I’m out of time, but thank you so much for everything. I love you all. Happy New Year!
Elder Scott Baker