The past couple of weeks have been interesting. We went to OSU for the new missionary training and the trainers actually got to go out and street contact this time! Except it was Christmas break... so there were no people on campus. I have no idea what those missionaries do during break. That would be so hard! Our investigator Tiffany came to church 2 Sundays ago and just loved it! The members were awesome and took her from class to class so she had to stay the whole time. And she donated to our giving tree. She's awesome. We also had a ward mission plan pizza party at the church and 2 girls walked in that were with their friends playing basketball and asked if we went to this church.... I thought those stories were just myths! Nope, stuff like that really does happen! So we gave them a chapel tour and Book of Mormons and pamphlets. They live in Dayton though so that's out of the mission. But one of them already had set up an appointment with the missionaries there previous to our chapel tour. Pretty much everyone wants us to come back after the holidays which is pretty frustrating because we have nothing to do til then! I'm excited for the month of December to be over. Christmas is the best on a mission... the actual season? not so much.
Christmas Eve and Christmas day were just awesome! We got tons of gifts from investigators and ward members. A potential we've been working on for a while got us each an assorted basket of chocolates, which he really didn't have to get us, and I just wanted to cry. It was just so nice! I have never felt more loved. The people in Huber Heights are incredible! And we got Choffy from one of the members. It's brewed cocoa beans. Mmmmm it's like coffee for Mormons. We had dinner with a family in the ward and she is such a good cook! We sat and watched them open presents and I felt right at home. We were so busy that day. Then Christmas we got to skype! Sorry I didn't have much to say. Honestly, I probably could have just stared at you guys for an hour and a half and have been perfectly content. It was just nice to see you. I also called Brett and Bryce and talked with them for a bit. Surprisingly, it all didn't make me as homesick as I thought it would. Afterwards we stopped to see some investigators and then went to the Stoddard's for Christmas dinner. Christmas was deemed our p-day so we took a nap and made pancakes and opened all of our gifts under our little Charlie Brown tree. We had a lot! Thanks for all the gifts and tell grandma and grandpa thank you, too! Sister Loder's family also got me a few things, which was really nice of them. We made lots of Christmas cookies for our neighbors but we still haven't really had time to deliver them...
Friday and Saturday we were pretty much out of commission due to me waking up in the morning and puking my guts out. We got hit with the 24 Hour Flu this week. And we had 2 appointments Friday! I got a blessing that morning, went to the appointment, then came home and threw up and then slept for 3 hours. Around 4 I was feeling much better so we went out and contacted a referral and went to another lesson. Then the aches hit and I felt like I got hit by a train. Sister Loder was then sick all night and all day Saturday. She had to give a talk at a baptism Saturday morning and I had to play the piano so we went to that and then she came home and slept. Again around 4 we got up and contacted a media referral we got! Then we had a dinner appointment with some members. She swore she was feeling fine. After dinner we came home and she immediately headed straight for the bathroom. We're fine now. But it was a rough week. This week we're just going to work our tails off to make up for last week.
I've been thinking a lot about all of the things I've learned on my mission and about myself in the past 6 months. Can you believe I've been out that long?! I'm learning more and more that if we focus on the numbers, the mission becomes more about ourselves and our own success and worrying about how other people see us. I've come to find that as we don't have people progress towards baptism or they decide they can skip church that week, I get really sad! Because they just don't understand how important all of this is. That it's not something you can just push aside and procrastinate on. I'm learning more and more to really value and be concerned for people and really for their eternal salvation. I think that's how you determine what is and isn't a successful missionary. Getting people to church and having baptisms are great and that is successful, but as we learn to become more like the Savior and develop his attributes and learn to really love people and worry about them, then we become truly successful missionaries and instruments in the Lord's hands. I love this gospel. I know it brings happiness, the kind that is not fleeting. How lucky are we to have the full gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth and to have a loving Heavenly Father that has blessed us with another witness of Jesus Christ and a prophet to help guide us? I just wish more people took the time to listen. This is intended for everyone. Every living, breathing soul that was, is and will be on the earth. What a blessing it is to have that knowledge! Go share it with all your friends!
Love you mom!