Thursday, December 24, 2009

Missionary Thursday

The latest letter in Elder Field's letter from his mission in Chicago, my brother.

Dear family and viewers,

Recently I discovered something that has helped me to become a little less lost in my new area. In the winter time, the shadows point north. With this bit of information, even though I still have trouble figuring out where we are going, it's now that much less difficult.
As for actual events of the week; the Christmas spirit has been running high this week. After we viewed some awesome decorated homes, we decided to do a little decorating of our own; but alas, we have but a single strand of lights and no tree. but then we got a brilliant idea! We now have the most artificial of artificial trees ever! We used the playschool basketball hoop that I inherited from Elder S. when he "died". (Editors note: Elder S. completed his two years of missionary service and went home. Hence, he "died".) We strung our strand of lights around it, then used pass-along cards as ornaments, and for the tree topper we used a rubber duck! We both agree that this is the best Christmas tree ever!!! (Editor's Note: Would this tree beat beat Charlie Brown's Christmas tree? I think so.)

Wednesday was our zone activity; it was basically a repeat of a previous activity in other zone; we went ice skating. I only spent about ten minutes on the ice but since it was my first zone activity outside the city I spent most of the time getting to know the other missionaries in the zone.

We got another pleasant surprise on Wednesday with a call from our star investigator (Editors Note: Investigators are people who missionaries are in the process of teaching the gospel) Eric. He wanted to meet with us every day this week until Christmas Eve so to speed up the process of his baptism. At first we were shocked because this absolutely never happens, that you can meet with an investigator every day, but we took advantage of the opportunity and did exactly as he requested.
Friday was the Joliet Christmas zone conference. I'd have to say this year's conference was far better then it was last year. The meeting started with some training from President R. and the zone leaders. I also learned that this year our families have to call us on Christmas instead of us calling them, and the church is being cheap so the family or the missionary has to pay. (Editors Note: I thought it was always like this?) After the trainings, we watched a movie called "The Fourth Wise Man", a very good movie of the 4th wise man who gets delayed in his coming to visit the baby Jesus and helps everyone on his way, taking a 33 year journey to get to Jerusalem. After watching the movie I remembered that last year in Beverly, Sister C. told us that story. Except... according to her there were actually 12 wise men, one for each tribe of Isreal, and the story was just a story. Huh. Ending the flash back and returning back to the present, we had lunch, sang Christmas carols, and was visited by Santa R./President Claus. At the end of the meeting, I resumed my fantasy from the Valpo conference that I told you about last week, but this time I played a role I have become all to familiar with; that of the child ravaging through the gifts on Christmas morning. After zone conference, we had a meeting with Eric, returned home and placed our gifts under our Christmas basketball hoop/tree to await Christmas morning.

Saturday was our ward Christmas party. We got there early to help set up, and later enjoyed dinner. The theme for this year's party was Christmas around the world. We learned about various beliefs and traditions from some different countries. My personal favorite was Australia. In Australia they believe that due to the inverted winter it's too hot for reindeer so Santa uses six white Kangaroos instead. they even have a song about it! I forget most of it but the chorus goes something like this...
Six white boomers, snow white boomers, flying through the sky in the blazing sun
Six white boomers, snow white boomers, used by Santa Claus for his Australian run...

That's become my new favorite Christmas song ever!! Also a Christmas party just wouldn't be a party without Santa Claus, so at the end all the kiddies got to go see him. Last year, for some reason, I didn't talk to "Santa" but this year i decided that I most definitely would. I was very impressed with this particular Santa as he knew exactly what I wanted and I didn't have to say anything; as a missionary he knew I would want more people to teach and told me he had pulled off Christmas miracles like that in the past. I was very exited at the idea of getting referrals from Santa Claus.

Sunday after church we met with Eric to discuss the details for his baptism. The date is set for this upcoming Saturday! Elder Sn. will be in the water and I will be giving a talk. I have got nine months left and hopefully in that time I will have the pleasure of being the one in the water, but for now I am just happy to be part of this baptism.

Sunday night, the Christmas spirit was still running high and we found a baptist church that was performing a Christmas concert and decided to take a peek inside. the musical performance was very good and after that the pastor spoke. As far as doctrine was concerned he was right on target but his historical information was a bit off and he didn't cite his sources so I wondered where he got some of that information. The wise men were on horses and it took exactly two months for them to arrive? December is a shepherd's busy season? Honestly I wonder where the pastor got his historical information.

Tuesday Elder Sn. gave into temptation and opened one of his packages which contained two identical stockings with twelve gifts inside and an explanation that it was a countdown to Christmas and to open one a day until then. But as it was three days until Christmas we had some fun and opened the first nine right away. That was a fun little activity that kept us both away from the rest of the gifts.
That's it for this week. Looking forward to our Christmas call on Friday

Sincerely, Elder Fields

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