Thursday, December 24, 2009

Baked Potato Christmas (and Lurpak, too!)

Date: Thursday, December 24, 2009 12:31:02 AM
Subject: Merry Christmas
It's Christmas Eve here and we just had our big Missionary Party. I still haven't been here long enough to care much about the slide shows. The curry was pretty good. The Tim Tam Slams were great. My secret Santa gift was a large bag of Oreos. I think I’ll make them into a crust for something.
The Elder I was supposed to give a present to had the same first name as me. Since I didn't know him, I got him what has always been my idea of a perfect gift. Lego. Ok, it wasn't real Lego, just stuff from a street vendor, but it was a pretty good fake. And when you take a brown paper package tied up with string and give it a good shake and hear the lovely sound of Lego jumbling around, you get a little burst of joy that fills your soul. At least I do. Always have. But I didn't get to find out if Elder Noah Davis is similar to Elder Noah Kershisnik, because he is still in America. I suppose this means he was injured playing sports, and is therefore nothing like me. I sadly handed one of my favorite things to the mission president's wife, and hoped that I am wrong after all and it will be a joyous time for him when he arrives to find a late Christmas present of Lego. I should have just kept it.

Well, I did something I thought I would never do. I sang an a capella song. My companion wrote it and we performed it today. So there you go.

The best performance was President and Sister Chan's Opera song. Chinese Opera of course. It was wonderful. I filmed part of it, but my camera died unfortunately. I missed the incredible look Sister Chan gave President Chan when he started faintly flapping his arms in time with the music. I could never describe it.

We still have a lot of slow-moving investigators. We are still trying to get them to read the Book of Mormon. It's still hard. They still can't progress if they don't do it.

We're teaching a really cool family. They used to be hard core Buddhist, but then the mom and dad started a business selling Buddhist stuff and got cheated out of a lot of money by some monks. Then the dad left them to be a monk. They have had a lot of trials, but they really recognize the truth. The oldest daughter is progressing the fastest, still rather slow. The mom always talks about similarities between us and Buddhism. She is very Chinese in thinking that Religion is good, but not grasping the "this is the one and only true church on the earth once again, containing the fullness of truth" concept. So we are mostly working with the oldest daughter. But they are wonderfully artistic and cultured. The mom says when I am making movies I should move to China because they have much better culture than America does.

We have a few other investigators who are doing well, but they all want to go so slowly. They want to wait for their family to accept the church with them. They want to get out of debt, so work always comes before church, even after they receive so many monetary blessings from attending church. Whatever. Just keep at it. Come what may and love it.

Still cooking, still loving it. Mom, I know you worried that you hadn't taught me how to cook, but don't worry, you did ok. The other day my companion was staring longingly at a menu of baked potatoes. He was debating buying one of the puny things. I said, "Elder So, we can just make some." "Do you know how?" "Yeah, which one do you want?" he pointed to a potato with broccoli, cheddar cheese, bacon, and chives. We made it. I didn't even need a recipe.

They have Lurpak here. Very near our house.

Even in a country where people only know that Christmas is a holiday that many Americans love and has something to do with Jesus and a man dressed in red (The Christmas Old Person, as they call him), Even with no snow and no real pine trees, even with hardly any time for making delicious bread and small gifts for loved ones, even though I have to go on exchanges with Elder O'Neil because I yell at him less than other people, even without my family here, I still have felt a renewed sense of joy and hope and faith in Christ and his atonement from the Christmas season.
I hope all of you have too.

I love you all. Merry Christmas!

-Elder Noah Kershisnik

p.s. I'm pretty sure I will call tomorrow morning, though I haven't made certain of that, and right now I am on exchanges with the a for mentioned Elder O'Neil, so I can't confirm that with my companion. Sorry, but it should be tomorrow morning.

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