Here, it seems as if New Year's Eve is a bigger holiday than Christmas (Well, even Boxing Day is bigger than Christmas. If you ask people here when Christmas is, they will tell you that it's on the 26th). On New Year's Eve, everyone goes to church and sings from 7 PM to 2 AM, ushering in the New Year. We have a couple of churches behind our apartment so it was hard to fall asleep (I think we each only got 4 to 4.5 hours of sleep that night). The next day when we proselyted in our area, we could hardly find people to teach because they were all asleep in their houses. We did the best we could in finding people to teach, but we were mostly unsuccessful in our efforts. I just kept telling myself that there are times where we can not control our surroundings, but we can always control ourselves. It helped me to keep a happy heart because I knew that I was carrying out the Lord's work, even though people weren't there to listen. We tried to find service projects to do as well, but no one here has service for us to do. The only real service people need is to help them prepare their food and care for a baby, but they don't ever want white man to pound fufuo because of the hard work it takes. People try to baby us just because of our skin color, so it gets frustrating at times.
The whole week was pretty disappointing because people were not in the mood to be taught. We only received 13 total lessons for the whole week, but I had to keep reminding my companion and myself that no effort is wasted when you are a missionary. We just have to trust that the Lord is pleased with our efforts and then do our best to fulfill our side of the agreement to carry out His work. As an apartment, we decided to get together during companion study and outline problems that we would solve and ways that we could be better missionaries, and then we made goals for the apartment as a whole. Just being able to get together and recommit ourselves helped me to rejuvenate a little, and I have high hopes for this next year.
Elder R... and I received big news from President Holmes on Friday. Elder R... will be the new district leader for Suame and Kronum, and I will be training a new missionary straight from the MTC! At the beginning of this transfer I requested to train someone because I wanted to have a change in the work, and now my wish has come true. I want to remember what it was like to be fresh in the field and to remember the zeal that I had, and I think that having someone to train will do just that for me. I know that a lot of responsibility is being put on me, but I have faith that as I obey the mission rules and teach by the Spirit, the Lord will help me to guide the new missionary in the right path. I don't know who I will be training or even where he is from, but I know that whoever I receive will be the one the Lord wants me to have.
For your question of the week: "Which book of scriptures do you like best and why?"
Answer: As of now, my favorite book of scriptures is 3 Nephi because of how much we learn about Christ in just a few chapters. The most touching parts are when Christ cries over the people because of the love that He feels, and every time I read about the angels coming from heaven to encircle the little children, I feel a great warmth wash over me. Truly, His love for us is so great that we can not even fathom it. Sometimes I wish I could have His same love for other people, because I feel that great joy would come from it. Whenever I get frustrated about someone or something that has happened, I try to remember the example of Christ and do my best to take deep breaths and just move forward. There have been many trying times that I have faced on my mission (and I'm only 7 months out), but each time I have been able to face the obstacle and cast it aside.
Elder M... (our current District Leader) and Elder H... (our current Zone Leader) are leaving for home tomorrow, so we got together over the weekend and they had a massive bonfire. They piled up all of their dirty shirts, old planners, and other miscellaneous items and watched them burn for a good 40 minutes. As I watched the fire burn, I tried to imagine what it would be like to be in their shoes, but then I decided that I wouldn't want to be in them because they were already burning in the fire. Really, I don't know what I will be feeling when the time comes. I think that it will be bittersweet, especially because by the end of two years it will just be natural for me. I'm already starting to forget about how life was back home, and I can't believe that I was just on the computer for most of my waking life. Now that I have been here, I see that there is so much more to life and so many new things to explore. I'm glad that I decided to go on my mission when I did, because now I have more time to fix my life. If I never went or I went later on, I would have only wasted a few more years. There is a statistic that I read about missionaries that really surprised me that I want to share with you. Someone who goes on a 2 year mission and comes back is as experienced with the gospel as someone who has lived in it for 57 years but who never went on a mission. That really shows that these 2 years are really critical in ones' development and growth. I have really seen so many things in the Church that I didn't recognize before, and I see more and more how important it is to stay true to the faith. I want to encourage you all to remember why we are here on this earth and what our purpose is, and I hope that we can always find more people to bring to the truth. Thank you for all of the support you have shown, and I am glad to be here where the church is growing swiftly. May God be with you all.