|Elder Jordan & Elder Kestner picking up Christmas packages|
Dear family and Friends,
This last Christmas has been a first for me. I usually don't expect it to be 80 degrees on Christmas morning. Meanwhile, it's freezer temperature back in Pocatello. Well, that's Georgia/South Carolina for y'all. This first Christmas away from home most certainly felt weird, it's supposed to. The last 19 Christmases I've had before were with immediate and quite frequently extended family. On Christmas morning, Elder Jordan and I woke up at 6:30 and got ready for the day and we had our studies from 8 to 10. We then opened the gifts and cards from family and friends back home. This went down as one of my favorite Christmases of my life. We had the gifts and everything else to go with it ( i.e. chocolate and other goodies ). We were able to more fully understand how important it is to remember the true meaning of Christmas. Christmas may be over, but the Spirit of Christmas endures through the year. It's up to us to invite it back after the 25th of December.
Our week was pretty slow and busy. A lot of things called for our attention. We spent Christmas Eve with a less-active member and his non-member wife. They are both in the Army and they are fun to be around. They loved having us over, in part to their kids being with their biological dad in North Carolina. We had an amazing Turkey, mashed potatoes (YES!), stuffing, among other things I can't quite remember. That very evening, a thunderstorm blew in. A thunderstorm? In December? I am definitely not in Kansas (Idaho) anymore.
The members here spoiled us by giving us gifts and invitations into their homes. Due to time we could only see a few. We spent the latter part of the evening on Christmas Day with the Plocha's. Brother Plocha, a non-member, made Italian Meringues which were really good. After a good conversation, we left with a scripture, a prayer, and went home.
Despite it being the week of Christmas, not a lot happened other than being treated to Costco where the members bought us $140 worth of food which will last us months. The North Augusta Ward has done so much for us, and we just want to do what we can to reciprocate that generosity by our work and testimonies. It has been an incredible two weeks already. It feels weird for me as I start my first calendar year out. We will be on lockdown on Thursday, New Year's Eve from 6 pm on. And no, we won't be staying up until midnight. We have work to do on Friday!
I wish all of you a Happy New Year and try to remember your New Year's resolution beyond January 4th! Love y'all and be safe wherever you may be!
Elder Alexander Kestner