Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from the West Pacific. We are surviving the heat of “Tropical Paradise” and we are still going strong.  Each day we feel a little more at home. That is to be expected after spending so much time here, we guess.  The people, like we said before, are very loving and accepting people. They have embraced us and let us be part of their family.
This past month was the month of giving thanks for everything we are blessed with and now we have entered in the month of WISHES...

First, I want to tell you what I am thankful for --- I am thankful for clean water, garbage pickup, electricity, good beds, good roads, bug bombs, and all the people that make sure these things are possible to enjoy.  I am very, very thankful for technology and a good mailing service.  Super, thankful for a cold glass of fresh milk to drink with macaroni and tomato.  Thanks to Brady and Kimberly for mailing me my homemade tomato juice. Yum  (I didn't get the milk but in 4 months I will).  Elder Tiffany says he is thankful for fresh fruits and vegetables, especially tomatoes, peaches and raspberries.  He also is thankful for the chance to grow stuff and buy stuff that looks familiar. He never thought he’d say it but he misses places like Walmart and Costco.  More importantly we are very thankful for Our Father in Heaven and for the atoning sacrifice that was made so we could be forgiven of our mistakes and short comings so we could live with him again.   Next, we are thankful for each other and the Lords priesthood that blesses us.  We are also thankful that he loves us and takes such good care of us.  (Even on the days when I am not lovable – Oh not really. I am always lovable but you knew that already though RIGHT)!
Also, we are thankful for Brady and Kimberly, Brians family and Annettes, friends and other family for everything they do for us and the support they have given us while on our mission.  We feel very loved and thankful for that love.

Now wishes. . .  well for starters ET always says “if wishes were fishes, we’d all have a fry, if horse turds were biscuits, we’d eat till we die” (quoting his father who was very wise in a folksy kind of way) Well we don’t want any of either --- However we wish for you all to be healthy and strong. We wish that every small child could get a big hug then go to bed safe, warm, with a tummy full of healthy food and the feeling of being loved. We wish the world could have peace and we could all get along and play nice with one another. We know those things sound small and child like but that is what we wish for.

Sometimes we look around and have a hard time imagining Christmas here.  There are decorations up here and there and also some of the stores blare Christmas music, but the scenery is just not what we're used to for December.  It's just green everywhere.  And the temperature and humidity haven't changed a lick.  But Christmas time it is and we are doing our best to have the Spirit.
Living out on a tiny island is like something in the movies and is sometimes eye opening in many ways. Sometimes it feels like we are in a book. Some days it drags on and on and other days it is so full you can’t even stop your head from spinning.  We have met so many people from all over the world here.  It is great when you can run into people that are from your home area and even more exciting is when we know the same people.  SMALL WORLD.  Our hotel is like a little family within its self.  We live in the building where only the white people live.  Sounds a little racist but that’s just the way it turned out.
Our neighbor is Allan, he is from Louisiana.  He works for the U.S. Dept. of Interior and over sees our tax dollars at work here.  (They are not doing a good job with our money BTW)  He has been out in Micronesia for many years and in Chuuk 7 years.  He is planning on leaving right after we go home.  He is single but he was going to marry a nice Chuukese lady however she became ill and died and left 3 children.  He sees the children every week and loves them.  Our other neighbors live up stairs.  Rob and Cindy, they are the dive masters here.  He is from Florida but has lived everywhere including Ogden, Utah and Cindy is from the UK.  She has a great accent and is fun to listen to, although she is a little fiery and pretty funny.  In the building in front of us is where the Philippine community lives. We really can’t begin to tell you about everyone there because there are so many of them.  They are the workers and some of the great wonderful people here that keep this place running.
We have the greatest job in the world right now, delivering and handing out toys and goodies, all made possible by charitable souls from all across our home country. We are not clothed in red or have a sleigh and reindeer even if Elder T says he does have the build for it, we are not Mr. and Mrs. Santa Clause. One thing that we truly love and appreciate this year is family. At home we all get caught up doing things with our family (ies) making traditions, eating, singing, and playing games.
We might over look someone that doesn’t have anyone to spend the holidays with.  Here in Chuuk, EVERYONE is family – doesn’t matter if your blood or not.  We all are God’s children.  The branch Christmas party is on Christmas day because who do we spend Christmas with?  Our family.  Anyway everyone pitches in with food; they draw names for presents, play games, sing Christmas songs, and tell the Christmas story.  It warms our hearts because no one is left out, it doesn’t matter what religion you are or what color, age or sex, you are loved and welcome to join in the festivities.

This past month our friends lost their son. It was sudden and unexpected.  He was a strong healthy 32 year old man.  It has been heartbreaking and even though we understand the Plan of Salvation, seeing people we love hurting has been very hard.  It really makes you step back and pause . . . it makes you realize how each day is special and should be embraced.  Our other good friends lost a 6 year old grand-daughter in the senseless shooting that took place in Connecticut.  Again heart breaking.  Our prayers are with our friends that are hurting from these losses and we hope they will be comforted knowing that they are now safe with a loving Father in Heaven.

We truly are learning a lot of things and everything we ever learned throughout our life, we have had to use on our mission.  I am extremely thankful for my upbringing and the incredible,  wonderful smart amazing parents that raised us and taught us about our Savior.  We have never felt closer to them as we do on this mission.  When we are feeling down or not sure we can handle something, we feel them with us helping us get through it.  We know that we are very blessed and loved.

This mission is probably the hardest thing we have ever done in our lives, living under the circumstances we live in here and learning to be obedient and humble to what the Lord expects of us.  Wearing this badge every day makes us want to be better people.  We’re not only representing us, we are representing the Lord.  AWESOME.  I always wondered why missionaries were different and now I know why.  We still have more time here in Micronesia and I pray that we will be able to continue to grow and become the person the Lord has sent us to be.
Besides that “what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, right?”
May we ever watch over one another, assisting in times of need.  Let us not be critical and judgmental, but let us be tolerant, ever emulating the Savior’s example of loving-kindness.  And may we willingly serve one another.  We know that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, that he died for us so we might live again.  We also know that Joseph Smith restored his gospel to the earth again so we can learn how we must live here on the earth.  We also know that we have a prophet today to lead us and guide us during our times of trails.  We know that families can be together forever and it is up to each one of us to share our testimonies and teach others.  We pray for each one of you and pray you will continue to be strong and healthy.  We always pray that we will be ever worthy to receive the blessings he has to offer.  We both wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

No comments:

Post a Comment