Well we just talked this morning on the phone but i wasnt able to say everything about my Christmas... so here was Christmas in the Philippines!
First, Christmas conference was absolutely wonderful! Being in a busy city with people speaking a different dialect was quite interesting but i was able to catch on pretty fast. We met on Tuesday and played sports all morning with all the missionaries. What a blast to catch up with old mission friends!! Then at 5 we had a nice dinner and had a presentation show. Each zone gave a presentation, mostly singing. The funnest was that we all sang Once There Was a Snowman! (normal, slow, and fast, just like in primary!) Even President and Sister Malit were joining in. We had a little exchanging gifts. I got some fun little things! One thing was a green frog that ribbited... Spencer, President Malit's 6 yr old son, loved it so i gave it to him for Christmas. We was super happy! This Christmas really was able giving and not receiving which was really nice. One of the most enjoyable Christmas' ive had.
Our ward Christmas party was at a swimming pool... yes, a swimming pool because its always hot here! hehe. Lots of people came and we had a good time. Sister Larsen and i sang 'Far Far Away on Judeas Plains' in cebuano. The other auxillaries performed as well. It was fun and we had lots of yummy food. Many of our investigators came which we were so excited about! We have some great people we are teaching right now. I feel so incredible privileged.
Then for Christmas Eve we visited families and gave little goodies. We made no bake cookies, since thats the only treat thing we really can make cause walay oven. We made little homemade Christmas cards and had fun giving them out to our investigators and close member families. On Christmas Day we woke up and set up a Christmas tree made out of our washing buckets. We read the account of the birth of Christ in Luke 2 and then opened the Christmas packages that Sister Larsen received. It was fun just peacefully spending time together. The best was taking most of the gifts and other things we had and figuring out who we could give them to. So we used the wrapping paper that her gifts were in and wrapped up a bunch of stuff to give to others. I gave away my earrings and lotions and such that i had. Sister Larsen made some yummy crepes before we studied. We studied and made a cool little Christmas message to share as we went about delivering gifts and more cookies! As we went out we realized that Christmas in the Philippines is much different than back home. Most people were about doing their regular routine. And many people we visited we realized didnt receive one gift. This hit Sister Larsen and I pretty hard. I guess we didnt realize that there would be zero gifts. All month people talk about gifts but when it comes down to it they dont really do the whole gift giving because of how poor they are. The main thing they do is save money to have a nice Christmas Eve dinner. This made us giving small gifts and teaching about Christ that much better and touching. As we walked up and down the street we reflected on life and how grateful we really are for our Savior, Jesus Christ. Without Him i wouldnt be on a mission. I wouldnt know all these wonderful people and i wouldnt have all the blessings of the gospel in my life. I really dont know what i would be left with. This has given me a strong desire to keep going in this great and marvelous work so others can have what i have... not material things but spiritual things that bring happiness beyond reason!
Scripture of the week... 2 Nephi 19:6
I have assignments for each one of you in the family to study. Just things ive been studying and had the inspiration to have you study and tell me what you learn... so that is your assignment this week and next email let me know what you learned! :) Ill email you individually your topic but just know that every one has something different.
Sister Carissa Jones