Sunday, March 27, 2011
It was so amazing to see you all on Skype! It was such a blessing for me. Sorry I cried a lot... but what can be done? Really, my family is so beautiful. I have kind of been on cloud 9 since we talked. So, thanks. That was the best Christmas present I could have had. No worries Joe! I understand completely! I'll be seeing you soon enough I suppose, and yes, I did get your letter a couple of weeks ago. Thanks for thinking of me : )
Yes, Christmas was somewhat a stressful day, but good. The baptizm went beautifully! We had it in the brand new Church building in Ekat, and the building is gorgeous! It is way nicer than our building back home. They have waited so long to have their own building, and now they do! I'll send you some pics of the baptizm. Sasha was so so so nervous before the actual baptizm happened, and the font wasn't filled too high, so he had to be dunked from like knee high. But, he got in an his first try, and all is okay. After the baptizm, we got stuck in traffic for an hour and a half, and was that late (along with everyone else) getting to our Christmas dinner. So, we got to sit and eat for about an hour, and then we went to our English Club with President Allcott.
Sister Muhlestein and I have put a lot of work into making our English club special. When I first came to Botanika, we had two regulars in class. Now we have about 8-10 regulars, and others that pop in every now and then. We have met with almost every one of them and feel like we are slowly warming them up to having more interest in the Gospel. They really have come a long way. We went to a big effort to make our Christmas with them special, and gave them stockings, etc. We thought President would enjoy English Club, but he and Sister Allcott weren't too impressed, which was honestly hard to hear after all of our hard work. But, they only have our best interests at heart. We came home Christmas evening rather somber, but their advice was very wise, so we'll try and do better.
The next day (Sunday) we had a great Sabbath, and a girl we've been meeting with came to Church with her Mom, which was really cool. We had a couple other investigators show-up, and it was a really great meeting. Sasha got the gift of the Holy Ghost, and he says he feels "powerful." Haha. Too bad we didn't tell him to close his eyes during the blessing. He kept them open the whole blessing (yes, I peeked). We had the District Christmas party that evening, and Sister Muhlestein and I played a duet on the violin. It was a very well done program, and it felt a little like Christmas : ) We then went caroling to some people in the evening. The Holidays are nice because there are a lot of unique ways to serve people, like caroling for example. Too bad they usually don't know what caroling or Christmas is!
I love Christmas, and it is cool to know that you can enjoy it wherever you are in the world, because it really is all about Christ. We were encouraged as a mission to give something to Christ this year, like to give him a present for his birthday. I think I've decided what I'm going to give, and I would encourage you all to find something you too can give. Hope you all had a very special Christmas weekend! Let me know what you gave, as well as what you got!
First, those family pictures from Ruidoso look so fun! I am so glad you all got to be together for the holidays. It just struck me how big our family is. By the time I get home, I won't recognize any of the grandkids I'm sure. And, that would be way cool to have everyone there when I get home, but of course I understand that might not be possible, especially for the family in Georgia! Anyways, that is still a little ways off : ) Yay for a White Christmas morning together. So wait, is everyone going home for the actual Christmas day, or is there more festivities together in LC?
Second, The weather hasn't been that cold I don't think! I have heard minus 30 Celius, but not minus 31 Farenheit! So, while it is very cold, I would say that what they are saying is celius, might in reality be farenheit. Either way, I appreciate the concern for my warmness. I have yet to freeze too bad, and with all the layers I put on (it takes a while to get dressed), I feel pretty hot most of the time unless I am outside, then I feel slightly chilled to say the least, but not bad. Only my face gets really cold.
Third, I get to call home for Christmas using ................ (you ready?)..................................
SKYPE!! YAY!! The Mission Department just sent out an email approving skpe for missionaries calling home! I am pretty certain that most of the missionaries won't have access to a computer, but the Senior couple in my Branch has already offered to have us come to their home and use their skype account. I have never used skype before and don't really know how, but they would suggest that you call me on their account. Here is what they wrote me:
Our Skype address is “Wayne or Eva”and if your parents want to try it before Christmas to see that it works we usually have the computer on in the evening until 10:00pm our time. If they wish to sent their Skype address to us, our e-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a good day,
Elder and Sister Hassell
YAY!! I get to see your faces! I am pretty sure you have a camera right? I have heard you mention that you've used skype to call the grandkids before, so I'm pretty sure I'll see you lovely faces very soon! Best Christmas Ever! Ok, here is the plan:
Please call ME your Christmas Eve at 8 PM. It will be my Christmas Morning at 8 AM. I will proly only have about an hour. If it doesn't work for whatever reason and you don't get through to me, I'll just call you on Mom or Dad's cell phone later. I am so excited!!
Four, and best of all:
WE HAD MORE MIRACLES!!
Last Sunday, a guy named Sasha was invited to Church by his friend. He went to the other Branch building in Ekat, but the sisters there got his info and it turns out he lives in Botanika. We called him Sunday evening, and set-up a meeting with him for Monday evening. He comes and he has the strongest belief in Christ, is a lawyer, and is very spiritual. He is golden, no other way to describe it! Anyways, I extended the baptismal committment for the 25th of December (a little less than two weeks from then) and he turned us down, saying a decision like that would take a lot of thought and time. Anyways, we were kind of sad, but we knew he would still get baptised sooner or later. As the week goes on, all of our other prospective baptismal daters didn't answer their phones, sad! They are all still doing okay (now that we've heard from them), but the week was definitely a "trial of our faith" to put it nicely. We were starting to maybe accept the fact that we wouldn't see a baptizm the 25th as a companionship after all. One investigator got a new job and is too busy, the other is still waiting for his wife's permission, and the other is backing-out on her testimony. Bah.... Agency! So, we were having a self-pity party a little this week.
Anyways, Sasha came to a Youth FHE Friday night and enjoyed it, camt to Church on Sunday and stayed all three hours. He was really listening to everything so intently, and he even decided to go back to the other Branch building for the youth Fireside that evening. Ok, so once he gets to the Fireside (we weren't there, we had a different mtg.), he walks in and says," What do I do if I have a question?" And the Senior couple there said it would, "Depend on the question." And he said:
"I WANT TO GET BAPTIZED THE 25th OF DECEMBER. WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?"
Ahh! It was so crazy. They told him to call us of course, and we talked to him over the phone, and he said he felt the Spirit so strongly at Church, and he just knew it was all true, and he wants to get baptized on Christ's Birthday! It was such a miracle!
Our Zone has been working so hard, fasting, praying, contacting in the freezing, and just trying all we can to get a baptizm on Christmas Day. It was looking really optimistic the whole time, but last week everything fell through at the last minute. But, the Lord is so merciful, and so amazing, that he just gave us this miracle for our Zone at the last minute. We really didn't do anything. My companion and I just freaked-out when we got the phone call. It really hows that we can try all we want, make plans all we want, but it really is the Lord's will. I have grown so much from this experience. Learning to try and exercise faith and work hard to acheive goals, even when they really seem like the impossible. I feel really happy for all the missionaries in our Zone too, because I feel they all played a part in fellowshipping Sasha. So, it has been a really sweet, tender experience for us. I don't think I really, truly believed in miracles before my mission. I am not sure I really believed that God really took an active part in our lives, but now I really feel certain, beyond a doubt, that he really is there and that he knows us. I wouldn't say I ever had the most faith in the world, but now I would have to say that my faith has grown so much, and I really have seen miracles, more than I ever thought possible. It'll be a White Christmas after all!
Oh, and the Church Building that has been under construction for YEARS here in Ekat, just got signed and handed over this weekend. So Sasha will be the first person baptized in the actual Church building font in Ekat! It won't be in a spa center like usual, yay.
Well, there is more I could write, but you can just give me a call later this week : )
Friday, March 18, 2011