I still can't believe how wonderful it was to get to talk to my family on Christmas Eve. We talked about some of the traditions that I hope to bring home from Germany & Austria to incorporated into my own family. Now that things are starting to unwind from the holidays, I definitely hope to celebrate the gift giving portion of Christmas completely separate from the celebration of Christ's birth. I think it is interesting that my mom had these same feelings this year- but I guess it shouldn't surprise me, she is ALWAYS better at knowing what is best for me before I do. For those of you who haven't met her, take my word for it! This is one of those things that drove me crazy before my mission and now I am gaining a huge appreciation for just how much this means she prays for her children. Friends & Family- please always keep that in mind, when you pray for those you love and serve, Heavenly Father WILL give you the counsel and instruction you need to help them most.
I did realize that this is the only Christmas I will get to spend in Germany! I don't know how this didn't sink in before, but now that this has connected I have found myself a little disappointed about spending only one Christmas and New Years on my mission. Actually, maybe it's best, I don't think I would be able to handle two Christmas'! My mom's fears would really be true and I may not ever want to come home (how can I convince everyone I love and care about to move to Austria with us).
|Christmas Decorations for our apartment|
For Christmas Eve, we had lunch at "R's" house and then went to a Christmas Devotional in the church, and then headed over to "M's" for the night. We played Secret Santa, sang songs, watched 'The Blind Side' (we got permission, I promise!!) and ate saurkraut and sausages, which I guess is a traditional Austrian meal for Christmas Eve.
For Christmas day, we went over to the Hess family and watched 'Paul Blart, Mall Cop' (don't ask me why, all the Europeans were so excited to see it!) and then ate a really big lunch together. We continued to spend time with members and investigators,
ate our body weight in cookies and cakes,
|Talk about instant weight gain|
and about fell asleep on peoples couches on multiple occasions. Whew, I am ready to get to work again!
We did get to go Schwester S's house finally. It was so much fun, she made a lactose-free Tiramisu and we listened to fun New Years music. We definitely got to know her a bit better, and met her husband. Her husband is actually really funny, but I have never met him before because he is a non-member. Apparently, they used to do a lot with the missionaries on P-days and such, but then they stopped having contact with the missionaries for some reason until us. I cannot tell you how grateful I am and how blessed I feel to be a part of her life and that she has such a warm heart towards us. I feel that in this relationship she is really the blessing to me and my life right now, so I feel very guilty when members of the ward express what I blessing we are to her. She will forever be known in my heart as my personal angel! I cannot tell you all the ways she has helped lift my spirits when my heart feels heavy. I will pray to be blessed to stay in this area through the summer so that we can go on fun hikes with the S family when it gets warm again :)
Yesterday we went over to the Erlachers house after church to have ANOTHER Christmas lunch. Sister Erlacher is from England, so we got to learn a bunch of English traditions, like the surprise christmas crackers,
and fun little chocolates. Another tradition of theirs that I thought was very
cool is that every year they craft tiny little gift boxes and make them
into Christmas tree ornaments. On the inside, they write on a little
piece of paper a gift that they want to give to Jesus that year, and then hang
it on the tree. Cool, gel?
|British Christmas Crackers|
|Sister Hess got to make cupcakes|
I hope everyone at home had a fun Christmas and has fun (safe) plans for New Years! I love you all!
|The traditional new pajamas for Christmas Eve... thanks mom!|
We did finally get the second Christmas package you sent to us. We were all so grateful for that little extra touch of love from home. Both Sister Wunderli and Sister Erdenetsogt would like me to tell you thanks for the Christmas presents AND they both think that I have a really pretty mom (that truly is from them :).
Oh, and the EOS chapsticks you sent... I gave the pack of 3 to" M" for a Christmas present, and she was so excited! I guess Miley Cyrus uses one in a music video, and she just thought it was the coolest thing to have the same chapstick as a celebrity. And Sister Wunderli and Erdenetsogt thought it was very cool too. American chapstick, who knew people would get so excited about that stuff?
And Sister Smith did give me a hug when I was in Salzburg gave me your hug! I am not sure if I already told you that, but it was nice to get a 'hug' from my mom!
Also, one of the members here, Achim Erlacher, knows Richard Hawks! He came up to me a few Sundays ago and randomly took a picture with me and said 'by the way, Richard Hawks says hi!' It is a small world after all!
It was way fun to talk to y'all on Christmas :)
Love you, miss you, but wouldn't want to be anywhere else than where I am right now!